Photo taken at Copper State Turbine Engine Company’s maintenance facility in Scottsdale, Arizona
The year is 1964 and the first Garrett AiResearch turboprop engine, the TPE331, takes its first fixed-wing flight on a Beech C-45, a military version of the Beech Model 18. Now, more than 50 years later, the TPE331 is considered one of the most reliable, proven turboprop engines in the world, with more than 13,700 engines delivered exceeding 125 million hours of flight time.
This is no fly-by-night reckoning, as evidenced by the results from the most recent Aviation International News (AIN) user survey on engine product support. The report summarizes Honeywell’s rank succinctly: “Among turboprops, the Honeywell TPE331 took top honors in every single category, bar none.”
The monthly business aviation trade publication asked respondents to rate the quality of service they received during the previous 12 months on 10 factors including factory-owned and authorized service centers, parts availability, cost of parts, AOG response, warranty fulfillment, technical manuals, technical reps, cost-per-hour programs and overall product reliability.
The TPE331 was ranked highest in each category of the survey including overall engine reliability with an impressive score of 9.8 out of 10.
A perennial high scorer in the annual AIN survey, the TPE331 family includes 18 models and 106 configurations.
Pilots flying TPE331-powered aircraft enjoy exceptional horsepower response and best-in-class fuel economy. Flight crews particularly applaud the quick throttle response for shorter take-offs as well as good power-to-weight ratio and long maintenance intervals.
With an eye toward continuous improvement, Honeywell recently added the capability to upgrade older TPE331s to the TPE331-10 configuration to expand engine power while saving customers money on fuel and operations. The -10 conversion improves time-to-climb by 10 percent, cruise speed by an average of 25 knots. Hourly total cost, including reserves, can be reduced by as much as 11 percent.
“Honeywell is now set to take the engine to a whole new level of performance with the introduction of a dual-channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control, or FADEC, set to be certified in 2019,” said Lisa Morris, TPE331 Product Line Director.
“Performance improvements aside, this conversion actually increases the aircraft’s value as well as significantly reducing cost of ownership,” Morris said.
Meanwhile, the Honeywell team is diligently incorporating customer feedback and continuing to collaborate with aircraft manufacturers from across the aerospace industry to ensure that the TPE331 will meet the needs of the aviation community for the next 50 years.
The 2016 AIN Product Support Survey results were published in the August issue.