Commercial

UPDATED: FADEC Alliance, GE to Develop Next Generation Engine Controls

By Nick Zazulia | May 26, 2018

FADEC Alliance agreement signing between and Safran and GE. (Safran)

 

FADEC Alliance will work hand-in-hand with GE to handle digital engine controls for future GE Aviation commercial engines.

The company – a joint venture between FADEC International and GE Engine Services – will be in charge of development, supply and support throughout the engines’ life cycles. FADEC Alliance has had an agreement with GE since 2016, according to board member Mike Kosydar, and has already provided engine controls for GE’s GE9x, Passport, and ATP engines. It also supplied engine controls for the GE/Safran joint company CFM International LEAP engine, which is used on the Boeing 737 MAX and the Airbus A320neo family.

“This agreement ensures that FADEC Alliance’s business relationship with GE will continue well into the future,” said FADEC Alliance CEO Steve McCullough in a statement.

Beyond solidifying the partnership, Kosydar cited additional access to GE engineers for FADEC and general cooperation as a game-changing part of the deal when it comes to approaching projects like Boeing’s new mid-market aircraft (NMA) concept.

A General Electric GE9X engine, which is used on the Boeing 777X. (GE)

“We're working in unison to meet those future needs,” Kosydar said. “One of the next big commercial aircraft will be the NMA, and looking at what that needs instead of us waiting for a specification to come from GE … It's just a great opportunity to collaborate and complement each other's investments in future technologies versus kind of do it in a serial manner.

The current push is for gathering data and using it to fly smart and fly safely. Airlines need to minimize downtime – especially unscheduled – to maximize their margins.

“There's a lot more going now into advanced prognostics and diagnostics that the engines require. You get more data that you want to collect and analyze,” Kosydar said. “We've also made it between the LEAP FADEC and the 9X FADEC (that is used on the Boeing 777X), where you can control additional loops to give the better control of the engine, which ultimately will drive improved fuel efficiency and environmental performance.”

FADEC Alliance is focused primarily on commercial aviation right now, but it has a presence in the business aviation sector as well; it provides engine controls for the Bombardier Global 7000 and 8000 jets and the Cessna Denali, for example. Kosydar said that technologies developed for one are largely cross-applicable and that there are a lot of “common building blocks” between the different equipment across their line that helps them diversify.

Looking forward, Kosydar said form factor and efficiency are key.

“Engines, just like everything else, everything needs to be smaller, more efficient, more environmentally friendly. That plays a big factor. We live in a world of data, so we’re spending an awful lot of time just making sure that we can provide all of that both to GE and CMFI.”

 

Note: The headline for this article has been updated to indicate that neither GE or FADEC Alliance has received a contract to supply digital engine controls for Boeing's future NMA aircraft.

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