Monday, April 26, 2010

A Catalan company develops an airplane engine “immune” to volcanic ash

The company is now accepting reservations for orders from manufacturers and aircraft operators who wish to have these aircraft engines integrated in its present or future aircraft" says Hertz.

Aero Engineering Company, based in Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona), has developed an aircraft engine that is "completely immune" to any external elements that can affect the propulsion system, such as volcanic ash, sand or even large birds.

The person responsible for engineering project, Hertzer Christian, explained to EFE that in conventional engines air enters the interior of the engine, so the impact in this volatile area of alien elements cause serious harm and the engine stops.

The new engine developed by the Catalan company, however, has a secondary mechanism that prevents the air needed to propel the aircraft passing through the compressor, combustor and turbines.

This will prevent any volatile element, damaging the engines to the point of causing them to stop. "This engine is completely immune to any foreign element. In any case there would be little impact on the blades, but in no case would the engine stop in flight or cause an emergency landing" says Hertz.

The ash cloud caused by the eruption of Icelandic Eyjafjall forced the closure of several major European airports and the cancellation of thousands of flights. It is this unique situation that has led the International Air Transport Association (IATA) interest in the engine designed by Aero Engineering.

On Friday, day 23, the IATA quoted officials of the company at its headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland) to hear first hand the characteristics of the engine, called Freenox, and its technical and economic viability. "We have explained our operation and very importantly, the engines compatibility with any current aircraft," said the Chilean engineer. After five years of development, Aero Engineering is currently preparing to build a prototype of this new engine with the participation of Basque aerospace companies and automotive de Catalunya.

The company forecast that in 2013 the first flight test engine will be prepared and it can begin to market it some three years later, in 2016. Since the company say the new engine is also quieter and cleaner and more efficient, it has passed all technical tests conducted so far and has received high marks by the IATA in its technology roadmap.

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