Dwayne Brown Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1726


December 16, 1996

Lori Rachul Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH (Phone: 216/433-8806) RELEASE: 96-258 NASA SIGNS AGREEMENTS FOR FUTURE GENERAL AVIATION ENGINES NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin today confirmed the Agency's commitment to the renaissance of U.S. general aviation with the signing of Notices of Agreement for two new revolutionary engines that will make future light aircraft safer, smoother, quieter and more affordable. The engines are being developed under the Agency's General Aviation Propulsion (GAP) program that is promoting U.S. economic growth by uniting propulsion, airframe manufacturers and other industries with government to develop and demonstrate new general aviation propulsion systems. Goldin introduced the two company-led project teams of Williams International Co. of Walled Lake, MI, and Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) of Mobile, AL, that were chosen to develop revolutionary technologies for a turbine and intermittent combustion engine, respectively. Modern turbine engine reliability and smoothness contribute to aircraft safety. High acquisition costs have been a major factor hindering their application in the light aircraft market. Designing a simpler engine with fewer parts, automated manufacturing methods and common engine components across a wide spectrum of applications will help to lower costs, making them affordable for the first time to the light aircraft pilot. "With these agreements, NASA is planting the seed corn for a revitalization of U.S. competitiveness in the general aviation market worldwide. We want to develop engines that are reliable and affordable -- engines that will set a new standard for general aviation and restore the U.S. to prominence in this thriving industry around the world,"

Goldin said. "NASA is at the forefront of developing new and improved aviation technology to carry the U.S. into the next century. The signing today is another in a series of historic milestones for NASA aeronautics and the U.S. aviation industry," said Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Robert Whitehead. "Signing these agreements today places NASA in the forefront of revitalizing general aviation while making the Lewis Research Center a vital partner with industry in retrieving the nation's market share in small engines," said Donald J. Campbell, Director of NASA's Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH. NASA selected the Williams International team for the development of the turbine engine portion of the GAP program. Under the four-year cooperative agreement, signed on December 2, the company will develop and flight-demonstrate breakthrough, low-cost, turbine-engine propulsion systems to be used for light, general aviation aircraft with six seats or less and cruising airspeeds greater than 200 knots. Williams International plans to continue technology development and research on its new FJX-2 Turbofan engine under the GAP Cooperative Agreement. The TCM team was selected for negotiation for the development of an intermittent combustion (IC) engine under the GAP program. Under the proposed three-year agreement, TCM will develop and flight-demonstrate an affordable, lightweight, innovative IC propulsion system. The IC concepts are for entry-level general aviation aircraft with single engines, four seats, and cruising speeds of less than 200 knots. The major goal of the TCM agreement is to develop technologies and manufacturing processes that reduce engine prices by one-half while substantially improving reliability and maintainability, as well as meeting future emission and noise requirements. The engines will be significantly more user-friendly and feature simpler controls, start more easily in cold weather, and reduce cockpit noise and vibration.

TCM plans to develop a two-cycle, direct-injected, compression-ignition piston engine that uses Jet A fuel. The engine will be designated as the Continental Supercharged Diesel 283. The innovative design configuration, coupled with modern system integration by engine, airframe, and propeller team members, will create an advanced general aviation propulsion system. "These low-cost and easy-to-operate engines being developed under the GAP program will make flying affordable again, while providing the comfort of commercial passenger aircraft," said Leo Burkardt, GAP program manager at Lewis. Other vital areas such as cockpit and airframe technologies also are being developed by the NASA/FAA/Industry Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiments (AGATE) Consortium. GAP will work with AGATE in promoting U.S. economic growth by supporting the revitalization of the general aviation industry. -end-