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AVIO AERO and MT-Propeller collaborate on a fully European integrated engine and propeller system


23rd January 2019, Rivalta di Torino - The collaboration between Avio Aero, a leading company in aeronautical propulsion, and MT-Propeller, the Bavarian company that tops the European rankings and comes second in the world in the design and production of propellers, has officially begun. Since January 23rd at the Avio Aero plant in Brindisi (Italy), the two companies will launch a test campaign for the integration of their respective cutting-edge products designed for military and unmanned aircraft: the 100% European Catalyst engine, developed through collaboration between six countries, including Italy and Germany; and the MT-Propeller product, which allows a weight reduction range of about 8-20% and noise and vibration reduction of 30-50% compared to other propellers on the market.

Italy and Germany’s collaboration in the aeronautical field thus continues, contributing to a think-tank of unique technologies. The Catalyst is the first engine in its category to have the FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) system, which controls not only the engine but also the propeller, allowing performance optimization for any flight regime. This is done through a single control point, thus creating a jet-like piloting experience, whereby the pilot uses a single lever to control the thrust of the propulsion system. This integrated system is even more crucial for unmanned aircraft, as it greatly simplifies integration with in-flight avionics. Thanks to the collaboration with MT-Propeller, Avio Aero intends to further exploit the advantages of FADEC to offer an optimized propulsion system.

"Through these tests we will optimize the integration between the two systems, which will already be greatly facilitated by FADEC - says Paolo Salvetti, Sales Director for Military Turboprop Engines at Avio Aero, - This will enable us to significantly reduce time and risk on future aircraft applications and thus to be able to offer a pre-integrated, tested and optimized engine and propeller solution to our customers.”

The structure of the German MT-Propeller product, made of natural composite materials, is also fundamental. Beech wood forms the base, strengthened by the fir to which it is joined. The propeller is then coated with composite material (carbon fiber, Kevlar or glass) and the leading edge is protected by nickel cobalt 5 times harder than aluminum. The result is a propeller optimized in performance, weight and durability.

“With this design a great part of the vibration of the propeller that limits many aircraft applications and generates added noise is eliminated by using the MT-Propeller System - states Martin Albrecht, General Manager at MT-Propeller. 80000+ Propeller Blades worldwide in operation from MT use this advantage to make the most efficient, low noise low weight installation.”
The tests, entirely self-financed by the two companies, will be divided into two phases: a first digital phase, in which specific data will be entered into the FADEC system for analysis and any implementation of the data; and a second phase dedicated to the real integration of the two products: the engine and the propeller. All this will take place at the Avio Aero Wet Rig in Brindisi, a one-of-a-kind facility in Europe where it is possible to test or simulate, from an operational and a mechanical point of view, the functioning of both the engine and the digital controls (FADEC), using the real fluid system (air, oil, fuel) and the real accessory and power transmissions. The Wet Rig has a test bench for the propeller’s power transmission, accurately reproducing the aerodynamics and hydraulics of real flight phases.

INFORMATION about Avio Aero

Avio Aero is a GE Aviation business that designs, manufactures and maintains propulsion systems for civil and military aviation. It is the center of excellence for the entire General Electric group in the field of mechanical transmissions and low-pressure turbines. It employs more than 5,200 people at its headquarters at Rivalta di Torino, where its largest production plant is also located, and at its other major plants in Brindisi and Pomigliano d'Arco (Naples). Abroad, it has a plant and a test center in Poland. Founded in 1908, the company has overcome many technological challenges in over a century of history. Continuous investments in research and development and an established network of relationships with leading universities and international research centers have enabled Avio Aero to develop technological and manufacturing excellence recognized across the globe: an achievement borne out by a range of collaborative partnerships with key operators in the global aviation industry.

Avio Aero Contacts

Michele Laterza – Senior Media Relations Leader - +39 334 69 42 913

Simone Berruto – Media Relations Specialist - +39 345 61 95 979