HOW FAR BACK DOES THE HISTORY OF TURBOPROP ENGINES IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC GO?

Date 8.7.2019

Today, thanks to GE Aviation, the Czech Republic belongs to that refined group of seven countries that develop, manufacture and export aircraft engines. Not only that – following an agreement with the Czech Government in 2016, a global headquarters for turboprop engines is being established in the Czech Republic, from which the GE Catalyst, modern aircraft engine of an unprecedented design will be shipped to global markets.  But how far back do the roots of Czech turboprop engines go?

GE Aviation Czech, a member of American GE Aviation, is not a newcomer in the area of turboprop engines. Long before launching the development of the GE Catalyst, its most advanced machine, the company launched another turboprop engine. In 2011, the upgraded version of the Walter M601 engine, named H GE Aviation, was certified.

It has been used in several types of aircraft, such as the Czech Let L-410 and the American Trush. Moreover, it is suitable for flying in extreme conditions on six continents. The company has invested $100 million in the M601 engine upgrade, and today, the H series accounts for a large part of its production. “The H-Series engine has been used by many customers. However, it was not a completely new, clean sheet engine,” said Milan Šlapák, Director of the Advanced Turboprop (ATP) project last year. It is the Catalyst that has been prepared from scratch, an investment worth nearly $400 million.

However, the revolutionary GE Catalyst might have never been invented if it had not been for Walter (later re-named to Motorlet) often called Waltrovka in the Czech Republic, a company which is no longer in existence. This engineering company founded in 1911 produced motorcycles, motor tricycles, automobiles, and later aircraft engines. During its existence, the company produced 4,512 turboprop engines, and from 1923 to 2008, an impressive 37,000 aircraft engines of various types saw the light of day. In 2008, GE Aviation purchased the company assets from FF Invest, and soon started an upgrade based on the M601 engine, which resulted in the afore-mentioned GE Aviation H Series engine.

TRADITION CONTINUES IN A MODERN CONCEPT

In the course of 97 years of persistent work, Walter developed a range of propulsion systems that were well received in Czechoslovakia and beyond; the first memorable event for the company was the launch of the Walter NZ-60 engine, designed for sports and training aircraft. However, the development of the turboprop M601 resulted in an even greater glory for Waltrovka, and significantly enhanced the reputation of the Czechoslovak aviation industry. Its certification began in 1971 and two years later it was put into operation. While the M601 was used in the Let L-410, the younger M602 version was used in the Let L-610 transport aircraft. At that time, no one could assume that for decades to come, this would be the last certification of a Czech engine designed for general and commercial air transport. The GE Catalyst thus is the first brand new turboprop engine developed in the Czech Republic in 40 years. That is one of the reasons why GE Aviation is investing so much hope and effort into this product.

Today, GE Aviation Czech is developing the idea of improving turboprop engines introduced by Walter in the 1960s and 1970s. Also thanks to this tradition the Czech Republic is an industry leader – GE Aviation management did not choose to build a new headquarters in the heart of Europe by accident. In addition, the reputation of Czech engineers is aided by their cooperation with the Czech Technical University in Prague (CVUT), as described in detail by Milan Šlapák in his interview for Aerospace Magazine.

Although some of the traditional practices remain, the revolutionary Catalyst engine is in many ways completely different from its predecessors. For example, it works on a fully digital basis and some parts are printed on a 3D printer. “There is no similar engine in the small and medium-size aviation segment. This is why the GE Catalyst is so ground-breaking and revolutionary,” Milan Šlapák said earlier. The GE Catalyst certification process is due to be completed in 2020, and the engine should be installed in, for example, Textron Aviation’s Cesna Denali.

FROM NZ-60 TO CATALYST

1923      Walter introduced Walter NZ-60 aircraft engine, the first Czechoslovak design.

1936      Walter engines serve in air fleets of 13 countries and are used in 21 countries.

1961       The first Czechoslovak jet engine M701, which powered the AERO L-29 Dolphin aircraft.

1971       Development of the M601 turboprop engine launched, commissioned with the L-410.

2008     American GE Aviation acquired a stake in Walter

2011       Based on the Walter M601 engine, GE Aviation Czech built a new GE H turboprop engine that was EASA certified and took off with the L-410.

2016       GE Aviation Czech in Letňany becomes the turboprop engine headquarters of American GE Aviation. The company signs an investment contract with the Czech government to build a development, research and production centre for the most advanced GE Catalyst turboprop engine.

2018       GE Aviation Czech is the only subsidiary of American GE Aviation outside the US to develop, manufacture, certify and export aircraft engines. In total, over one hundred million dollars have been invested in the modernisation of the production facility in Letňany and in the GE H programme.

 

Text: Martin Schwarz

Stay up to date

with the latest news from Aerospace!

Your email address will only ever be used for Newsletters campaings with the legal agreement of your Privacy Policy. You can change your email preferences or unsubscribe in every email if you no longer wish to receive emails from us.


TOP Interviews

Only a complete training system can make a difference

Only a complete training system can make a difference

Date 14.9.2020

fl_en|fl_cs

The tendency to stream pilot training at an earlier stage as in the past is being adapted globally to the new operating parameters and requirements. The G 120TP has been designed around the future needs of global air forces and sets a new and unmatched standard in military pilot training. Interview with Thomas (Tom) Reinert, H3 Grob […]

New NATO  initiative for training of military pilots and conditions for its success

New NATO initiative for training of military pilots and conditions for its success

Date 8.9.2020

fl_en|fl_cs

Stability of the security environment has been faltering since the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia. NATO and EU countries are faced with an ever-increasing threat, primarily China and Russia’s ambition to expand their power and widen their sphere of influence. They invest heavily into their military forces, including the air force. The defense budgets of European […]

Flying is a passion for me

Flying is a passion for me

Date 1.10.2019

fl_en|fl_cs

An Interview with Damian Hirschier,  a certified test pilot that holds an Airline Transport Pilot License with a Category 1 Flight Test Rating. He flew more than 130 different aircraft types ranging from gliders up to airliners including 15 first flights of prototypes. By Katerina S. Urbanova You have performed a flight in an electrical […]

OUR SECURITY CANNOT BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED

OUR SECURITY CANNOT BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED

Date 9.9.2019

fl_en|fl_cs

An interview with Mirek Topolanek, Former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and co-founder of NATO Days   NATO Days are the biggest security show in Europe. Who first came up with the idea of organising this event? NATO Days in Ostrava and Czech Air Force Days are one of the biggest and most important […]

Show more

Stay up to date

with the latest news from Aerospace!

Your email address will only ever be used for Newsletters campaings with the legal agreement of your Privacy Policy. You can change your email preferences or unsubscribe in every email if you no longer wish to receive emails from us.

More news

Only a complete training system can make a difference

Only a complete training system can make a difference

Date 14.9.2020

fl_en|fl_cs

The tendency to stream pilot training at an earlier stage as in the past is being adapted globally to the new operating parameters and requirements. The G 120TP has been designed around the future needs of global air forces and sets a new and unmatched standard in military pilot training. Interview with Thomas (Tom) Reinert, H3 Grob […]

Czech aviation industry:  an old player making its name in new territories

Czech aviation industry: an old player making its name in new territories

Date 13.9.2020

fl_en|fl_cs

In its more than a 100-year old history, the Czech aviation industry has gained a lot of respect internationally. For many experts, the jet trainer and light attack aircraft manufactured by Aero Vodochody (L-29, L-39 and L-159) immediately spring to mind; followed closely by multi-purpose aircraft L-410 made by Let Kunovice (currently Aircraft Industries), or the wide […]

JOB AIR Technic now focuses on redelivery checks and it pays off

JOB AIR Technic now focuses on redelivery checks and it pays off

Date 11.9.2020

fl_en|fl_cs

The JOB AIR TECHNIC maintenance center specializes in heavy aircraft maintenance, especially redelivery checks, linked to a change of aircraft lessors. The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent reduction of air traffic thus brought the company new contracts.   “Redelivery checks currently make up at least 80 percent of our production,” Vladimír Stulančák, the CEO of JOB […]

Focus:  Near- and Long-Term Goals

Focus: Near- and Long-Term Goals

Date 11.9.2020

fl_en|fl_cs

László Török, Yamazaki Mazak’s General Manager for Central and Eastern Europe, embarked on his new role in 2019, just as the company was about to celebrate 100 years of operating in the market. László Török shared his vision and ideas with us.   The upcoming 100 years are thought to be a new challenge for the […]

New NATO  initiative for training of military pilots and conditions for its success

New NATO initiative for training of military pilots and conditions for its success

Date 8.9.2020

fl_en|fl_cs

Stability of the security environment has been faltering since the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia. NATO and EU countries are faced with an ever-increasing threat, primarily China and Russia’s ambition to expand their power and widen their sphere of influence. They invest heavily into their military forces, including the air force. The defense budgets of European […]

AlphaDogfight Trials Go Virtual for Final Event

AlphaDogfight Trials Go Virtual for Final Event

Date 21.8.2020

fl_en|fl_cs

Advanced algorithms to fly simulated F-16 dogfights against each other, Air Force pilot in online finale   The third and final competition in DARPA’s AlphaDogfight Trials will take place virtually August 18-20 instead of in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Participating teams and audience members will watch online as artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms […]

Show more
Subscribe to our magazineRegister now