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The Little Engine that Could | GE Reports

December 16, 2011

When GE Aviation acquired the Czech airplane engine maker Walter Motors four years ago, Walter was an 80-year old turboprop business with some glorious history and top engineering talent. Walter’s workhorse product was the M601 engine. There were some 1,500 of them in service around the world, accumulating 17 million flight hours. But the M601 was developed in 1976 and badly needed an upgrade. With no capital to spare, Walter was doing little more than servicing the engines it had produced.

GE saw a great promise. The company was seeking to lift its presence in the turboprop market and Walter could help. After the Walter deal closed in 2008, GE tasked teams of aviation engineers in Ohio and Massachusetts and their Czech counterparts to apply U.S. know-how, advanced materials and three-dimensional aerodynamic design techniques, and slim down and rebuild the M601.

The result was a new GE turboprop called H80. It took a maiden flight in 2010. This week, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified the engine, a milestone GE celebrated in Prague, the Czech capital, in the company of U.S. Charge d’Affaires Joe Pennington and Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kuba.

The H80 takes the elegant and robust design of the M601 and combines it with advanced materials and sophisticated technologies to create a more powerful, fuel-efficient and durable engine. For example, the new design allows the engine to operate more efficiently in hot weather, especially during the take-off, and deliver more shaft horsepower and faster high-altitude cruise speeds.



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