Press releases

GE’s Catalyst and MT Propeller ready for flight


May 25th 2020, Rivalta di Torino (Turin) - The functional and mechanical integration tests in the Czech Republic have been completed between GE’s Catalyst, a 100% European engine developed through the collaboration of 6 countries including Italy and Germany, and the propeller manufactured by Bavarian company MT Propeller, number one in Europe and second in the world in the design and production of propellers in the general and business aviation (BGA) segment. Avio Aero and MT-propeller signed a collaboration agreement in July 2019 to cooperate in the Military Market in order to offer an integrated and optimized propulsion system not subject to the US export control regime.

The physical integration test marks the culmination of the activities performed by the GE Aviation and MT Propeller teams to incorporate the two products, which began at the Wet Rig of the Avio Aero plant in Brindisi (Italy) and ended in Hradec Kralove (Czech Republic) under the supervision of the experts from the two companies, who were able to observe the propeller and engine in action in the Czech Technical University’s propeller test cell that started an intensive R&D collaboration with GE Aviation in 2016.

"The first phase of an entirely European collaboration involving several countries, including Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany, has been successfully concluded - says Paolo Salvetti, Sales Director for Military Turboprop Engines at Avio Aero. The result is perfect integration characterized by unparalleled and sustainable performance. This preliminary integration study allows us to greatly reduce the risks for future civil applications, although principally military applications, and therefore have a proven solution which is ready to use available and on the market.”
Both products, in fact, are equipped with unique technologies. The Catalyst’s state of the art FADEC system controls not only the engine but also and the propeller. This allows for performance optimization at all flight speeds with a reduction in fuel consumption of about 15-20% compared to average. MT Propeller’s natural composite material allows a weight reduction of between 8 and 20% and decreases vibration and noise by 30 to 50%.

“MT-Propeller, with the help and excellent collaboration with GE Aviation and Avio Aero teams on the Catalyst engine has proven another milestone how efficient new technologies are matching, allowing the prototyping be like a serial product. – states Martin Albrecht, General Manager at MT-Propeller. This test paves the way for the inclusion of the Catalyst engine as a certified application with MT’s propeller, enabling customers to get the most modern turboprop combination in the market.”

GE Deutschland has an important role in the development of this step change engine. In fact, the GE Aviation Team in Munich (Advanced Aviation Technology Center of Excellence) is responsible for the aero design and testing activities of the GE Catalyst high pressure axial radial compressor, for all inclement weather certification including icing, rain hail, etc. and contributed to the combustor design. Always GE Deutschland is responsible for the inclement weather certification preparing engine tests which executed last winter to validate the robustness of GE Catalyst for icing and cold temperatures.

This adds another element to the realization of Catalyst, a 100% European engine, which, as of today, has already accumulated over 1800 hours of testing. The Catalyst engine is a leading player in the most comprehensive certification process ever for a turboprop engine in the BGA segment; recently, it successfully completed development testing for icing certification while previously it passed tests for altitude, endurance, vibration, durability, ingestion and integrated propeller controls. The engine will take flight later this year on a King Air 350 Flying Test Bed.

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

Ylenia Berardi – Senior External Relations Leader - +39 3355701709

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