By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer
In a move that could eventually lead to nearly doubling the operating range of twin-engine jetliners, GE Aircraft Engines is planning an extended series of durability tests on its GE90-115B engine.
The tests beginning later this year and extending into 2006 are designed to find ways to eliminate unplanned maintenance problems and demonstrate the engine's ability to meet durability required for new extended twin operating limits, according to Aviation Week, the trade journal.
Federal Aviation Administration criteria limit twin-engine jets to no more than 180 minutes, or no more than three-hours flying over water. But this year the FAA will reportedly propose new rules extending the maximum to 300 minutes or more.
Extending the limits that far would allow twin-engine commercial jetliners to fly any route now served by three- or four-engine aircraft, industry officials said.
That could generate huge savings for airlines that are losing billions of dollars.
GEAE is planning a series of durability tests on the GE90-115B at its Peebles, Ohio, test facility and elsewhere representing 15 to 20 years of typical airline operations. The company envisions incorporating the durability lessons it learns into all of its engines, the magazine said.
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