AMT attended a press tour this week of the GE Aviation Czech site in Prague where GE Aviation announced the new name for the engine previously known as the Advanced Turboprop or ATP. The new name is the GE Catalyst.
Bradley D. Mottier, VP & GM, Business & General Aviation & Integrated Systems for GE Aviation commented, "the name reflects a catalyst for change.”
The engine which is going to power the Cessna Denali was the first time fired-up on Dec. 22, 2017, at the GE Aviation Czech site in Prague and logged some 33 minutes run-time. Now, this engine is operational and installed in the brand new test chamber of the Czech Technical University in Prague located on the same site. The Prague University is partnering with GE Aviation in the development of the new powerplant. More GE Catalyst engines are being assembled which will be tested in the GE Prague test facility. Parts of the fifth Catalyst were spotted in the final assembly room during our tour.
Thanks to Catalyst's dual FADEC system this turbine will be much more fuel efficient than exiting designs and will give the pilots “jet like” feel with its single lever control. With its fully digital architecture this engine will be run much more precise, burning less fuel, keeping the power to higher altitude because it has, for the first time in this turboprop class, variable stator vanes.
The Catalyst will react faster to pilots inputs even because the FADEC digitally controls not only the power but even the propeller pitch what according to Mottier means that full power means full power, or that 70 percent really mean 70 percent of available power. This translates to a simplified cockpit, with a true single lever operation, and ultimately less pilot workload.
According to GE the Catalyst family of powerplants will have on-condition maintenance - without any hot section inspection- and will have the ability to track exact flying conditions sending the engine flight data after landing to the manufacturer. The first run of a 1,300-shp variant for the Cessna Denali is planned for December 2018.
Watch for a full story in a future issue of AMT Magazine.