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An Inside Look at GE’s Prague Turboprop Engine Plant

After Paris and Oshkosh, the world airshow tour has moved to Moscow in August. GE introduced at the show for the first time a new H85 turboprop engine for next-generation propeller planes like the L-410 NG made by Aircraft Industries.

GE makes its turboprop engines at a gleaming factory on the outskirts of Prague, the Czech capital. Designed to work in desert heat as well as Siberian chill, the rugged engines power thousands of planes around the world including those flying to the world’s most dangerous airport in Lukla, at the foot of Mt. Everest.

This week, GE Reports visited the century-old business, which the company acquired in 2008, to see how the engines are made and tested. Take a look.

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The compressor rotor that is the beating heart of the engine. Image credit: GE Aviation

 

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Although workers use computer-controlled machines to manufacture the complicated shapes and geometries of engine parts, some components, like turbine and compressor blades, still need the human touch to reach perfection. Image credit: GE Aviation

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A worker is finishing an impeller for GE’s H80 engine. Image credit: GE Aviation

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This tool allows workers to precisely position diffuser blades before assembly (below). Image credit: GE Aviation

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The final product: GEH80 engine (above). These engines  power commuter planes, crop-dusters as well as private aircraft all over the world . Image credit: GE Aviation

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The factory in Prague has been making aircraft engines for nearly a century. Many of its products come back for servicing with technical documents still located in period packaging. Image credit: GE Aviation

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A worker is applying paint to a refurbished H80 engine. Image credit: GE Aviation

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The GE plant in Prague also has several engine testing cells. Workers take each machine for a spin before it travels back to the customer. Image credit: GE Aviation

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An H80 engine inside a test cell. Customers can test their engines with a variety of propellers. Image credit: GE Aviation

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GE used to ship engines inside these metal barrels. But workers have figured a new, more environmentally friendly way to ship engines inside recyclable boxes made of wood and reinforced cardboard (below). Image credit: GE Aviation

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GE’s latest turboprop engine, the H85, will be powering planes like the next-generation L-410 NG from Aircraft Industries. Take a look at a video from the plane’s maiden flight.  Finally, here’s how GE turboprop engines work. All images credit: GE Reports/GE Aviation

 

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