It's early days, but so far flight tests of the GEnx-1B performance improvement package (PIP1) on Boeing's 787 are proving encouraging to GE.
The first aircraft to be equipped with the upgraded engine, ZA005, is continuing starting tests having made its first flight in late September. The aircraft was selected for certification flight tests of the PIP1 as it is configured with a full instrumentation suite. After a series of initial low-altitude test start conditions ZA005 is expected to depart within the next few days for La Paz, Bolivia for high-altitude start tests.
Certification flight tests of the Block 4 standard GEnx-1B-powered 787 is meanwhile complete. The test aircraft, ZA006, is conducting ETOPS and Functional and Reliability (F&R) tests, and is scheduled to fly to Barbados in the Caribbean sometime around Oct 10 to conduct tests in high humidity conditions.
For the Rolls-Royce ETOPS/F&R phase Boeing used the island of Guam for these tests, however as a result of logistics issues encountered there the decision was made to relocate these to the Caribbean.
PIP1 standard engines are powering ZA005 (Boeing)
Boeing delivery order schedules for the first PIP1-powered 787 meanwhile continue to fluctuate according to sources. As of mid-August the first PIP1 aircraft was expected to be delivered to JAL in late November with a rating of 70,000lb. Now, however, the latest betting is on Air India receiving the first by the end of the year - but there is every expectation this could change again.
GE originally planned to certify PIP1 for entry-into-service at 75,000 lb thrust, but an unexpected stall during the final cycle of block testing at over 35% above maximum exhaust gas temperature, forced a redesign of the high pressure (HP) turbine nozzle. The revised nozzle is set for block tests later this year and will be certificated to 75,000lb thrust as part of an amended Part 33 ticket in February 2012.
PIP1 is focused on improvements to the LP turbine, while the second PIP will upgrade the HP and LP compressor as well as the turbine. PIP 2 is designed to ensure an improved fuel burn to within 1% of the specification at the higher thrust levels of 78,000lb required by the stretched 787-9. The PIP2 package is targeted at engine certification in mid-2012.