Qazar
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Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:26 pm

Dear Airliners.net-ers,

I always wondered if an engine type can be changed on an aircraft once it has been built for a specific engine type!

Probably best if I give an example to explain my question: LH has selected the RR engines for their A380 fleet. If another operator wants to purchase one of the LH A380s but wants to operate it with Pratt and Whitney engines instead, can they reconfigure the aircraft easily to operate with the different type, or are there factors in the manufacturing of the aircraft that condemn it to remain with the same intended engine type all its life?

Regards
 
smartplane
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:48 pm

Given the used fleet size, potential A380 buyers are / will soon be spoiled for choice with EA and RR engine variants.

Most engines are covered by PBTH support, or even owned by the OEM or associated companies, so engine support is less of an issue than it used to be if an airline has an 'orphan' engine OEM or model in the fleet.

Further, PBTH contracts, while they may be paid monthly or less frequently, are contracted for fixed periods, some with payments fixed and others variable, usually to 12 years (or finance / lease term plus minimum 2 years). To exit the PBTH contract, you have to buy out, or keep paying.

The more pertinent question, is the ability to re-engine with a completely different engine. Using your A380 example, with an engine model not previously offered.

The irony is air frame OEM's are building aircraft with longer lives. And environmentalists promote extending product life to reduce cradle to grave emissions. So the stars are aligning for aircraft to be re-engined. But then we have MAX, which makes airworthiness authorities and insurers more conservative, and less likely aircraft will be re-engined.
 
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DocLightning
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:54 pm

It depends. On the 747-400, it would have been a major project to re-engine, say, a PW frame to GE. On the 787, the aircraft is designed so that the engines can be changed (but to change from GE to RR would require replacing the pylons, too). On the 77W and A350, there is only one engine type.
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LAX772LR
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:57 pm

Can it be done? Yes.

Has it been done before? Yes, with notable examples being the original 777 at CX, and re-engined DC8s.

Is it cost-prohibitive to be done commonly? Usually.
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LHA320
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:57 pm

Qazar wrote:
Dear Airliners.net-ers,

I always wondered if an engine type can be changed on an aircraft once it has been built for a specific engine type!

Probably best if I give an example to explain my question: LH has selected the RR engines for their A380 fleet. If another operator wants to purchase one of the LH A380s but wants to operate it with Pratt and Whitney engines instead, can they reconfigure the aircraft easily to operate with the different type, or are there factors in the manufacturing of the aircraft that condemn it to remain with the same intended engine type all its life?

Regards


Technically it is possible. Both the 777 and A330 prototype frames flew on different engine types. I recall one A330 test frame even had all 3 engine options on it (GE,PW and RR). But in the real world, where money rules all decisions, its not a reasonable decision to covert an existing RR frame to PW engines. It would be cheaper to operate different engine types in the fleet than converting the aircraft. And with enough used frames available for nearly every aircraft- and engine type, chances are slim, not to say impossible, that you will ever see a frame converted.
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DL747400
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:58 pm

Not sure about the A380, but wasn’t the 787 specifically designed to be able to accommodate leasing companies and airlines that might want to change to an alternate engine type?

https://aviation.stackexchange.com/ques ... ne-options
Last edited by DL747400 on Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jetfan
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:01 pm

There have been re-engined types like 707 switched from turbojet to turbofan JT3D, DC8 with CFM 56 engines and the Super 27 727 re-engined with JT8D variants from the MD80.
But for modern types I’m not aware of any conversions like A320 from CFM to IAE or A380 from Rolls to EA.
 
wrongwayup
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:04 pm

DL747400 wrote:
Not sure about the A380, but wasn’t the 787 specifically designed to be able to accommodate leasing companies and airlines Who might want to change to an alternate engine type?

https://aviation.stackexchange.com/ques ... ne-options


If I recall they were originally supposed to be interchangeable at the engine level, but then that became too difficult so they became interchangeable at the pylon level. No word on if that's still the case, and I suspect if it were possible GE would be singing it from the rooftops right now with the trouble RR is having.
 
Runway28L
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:32 pm

LAX772LR wrote:
Can it be done? Yes.

Has it been done before? Yes, with notable examples being the original 777 at CX, and re-engined DC8s.

Is it cost-prohibitive to be done commonly? Usually.

This. Costs and the amount of work required normally kills any business case for re-engining commercial airliners.

Re-engine programs are more common with military aircraft as they have lower utilization rates and therefore longer lifespans. C-5s were modded from the TF-39 to the CF6-80, and hundreds of KC-135s were modded once or even twice from the J-57 to the JT3D to the CFM-56.
 
skipness1E
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:09 am

Atlas Air had a JT9D powered B747-200 re-engines with CF6s for fleet commonality, but it’s not cheap and you’d need a very good business case.
 
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Polot
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:41 am

A380 msn4 (the second one to fly) had RR before switching to EA for certification of that engine.
 
Antaras
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:44 am

Yes, you can.
On some type (787), you can change the engine easily, as Boeing said.
However, on some other types, it isn't easy to change the engines' type. You have to change and edit the wing structure, bunches of systems, etc.
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reidar76
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:55 am

Airbus used the same A319neo frame to certify both engine options.

I have no idea about amount of work required, switching from CFM engines to PW GTF engines on the same aircraft.

As reported by flightglobal.com: "The airframer used the same A319neo test aircraft, MSN6464, it previously used for the Leap-1A-powered version."

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... eo-462612/
 
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hongkongflyer
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:06 am

Antaras wrote:
Yes, you can.
On some type (787), you can change the engine easily, as Boeing said.
However, on some other types, it isn't easy to change the engines' type. You have to change and edit the wing structure, bunches of systems, etc.


But I heard it is still not as cheap and easy as Boeing think to swip engines on 787
 
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zeke
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:16 am

Qazar wrote:
Dear Airliners.net-ers,

I always wondered if an engine type can be changed on an aircraft once it has been built for a specific engine type!

Probably best if I give an example to explain my question: LH has selected the RR engines for their A380 fleet. If another operator wants to purchase one of the LH A380s but wants to operate it with Pratt and Whitney engines instead, can they reconfigure the aircraft easily to operate with the different type, or are there factors in the manufacturing of the aircraft that condemn it to remain with the same intended engine type all its life?

Regards


The A380 and A350 use something called ACUTE - Airbus Cockpit Universal Thrust Emulator, it does not matter what engines are on the pylons the controls and indications in the cockpit are the same.

Earlier engines had different presentations and often controls in the aircraft.

To change the engines you need to have all the flight manuals, QRH, FCOM, maintenance manuals etc all changed to reflect the new configuration. An very large task in anyone’s book.


wrongwayup wrote:
DL747400 wrote:
Not sure about the A380, but wasn’t the 787 specifically designed to be able to accommodate leasing companies and airlines Who might want to change to an alternate engine type?

https://aviation.stackexchange.com/ques ... ne-options


If I recall they were originally supposed to be interchangeable at the engine level, but then that became too difficult so they became interchangeable at the pylon level. No word on if that's still the case, and I suspect if it were possible GE would be singing it from the rooftops right now with the trouble RR is having.


That feature got dropped as far as I know all together.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
strfyr51
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:45 am

Qazar wrote:
Dear Airliners.net-ers,

I always wondered if an engine type can be changed on an aircraft once it has been built for a specific engine type!

Probably best if I give an example to explain my question: LH has selected the RR engines for their A380 fleet. If another operator wants to purchase one of the LH A380s but wants to operate it with Pratt and Whitney engines instead, can they reconfigure the aircraft easily to operate with the different type, or are there factors in the manufacturing of the aircraft that condemn it to remain with the sBME engine atame intended engine type all its life?

Regards

the answer is Yes. The DC8-61 went from a JT4D to the -71 with he CFM56-2. the 727 got the re-engine job at UPS as well, If I'm not mistaken? Some airline swapped JT9D's for CF6-80's on their 747's though I cannot remember the cargo airline that did it,
 
dopplerd
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:15 am

Once there are enough planes of the type, like the A320, the are enough options available on the secondary market to satisfy the needs of a purchaser so the incentive to switch engines is nil. Even a 787 probably has a large enough production book to provide options to the market. I guess the biggest chance for this to happen would be an airline deciding that it's selected the wrong engine type and wants to switch. The RR Trent engines might be close to making some airlines want to switch to GE on their 787s.
 
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ADent
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:32 am

Even GE didn't re-engine its 747-100 test bed that came with P&W engines.
 
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767333ER
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:53 am

Sure it can be done. I don’t know if it’s true, but A319 C-FYNS, one of Air Canada’s A319s, supposedly had IAE engines for a while as a prototype. It obviously has CFM engines now, but I can’t find any proof that this was actually the case. The same source says their C-GBIP, A319 prototype #1, was also converted to a -114 but I can’t find any pictures of that plane to confirm what engines it had.
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hongkongflyer
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:55 am

767333ER wrote:
Sure it can be done. I don’t know if it’s true, but A319 C-FYNS, one of Air Canada’s A319s, supposedly had IAE engines for a while as a prototype. It obviously has CFM engines now, but I can’t find any proof that this was actually the case. The same source says their C-GBIP, A319 prototype #1, was also converted to a -114 but I can’t find any pictures of that plane to confirm what engines it had.


Changing engines on a prototype is nothing new as you need to refurbish the plane anyways before delivering it to the customer.
CX's 772 HNL was the 1st 777 with GE engines and changed to RR before handing to CX.
 
YIMBY
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:02 am

As said:
- technically yes
- bureaucratically doubt
- economically no
Hence it remains an option only for appropriately developed countries under embargo or like with limited availability of frames and engines and urgent need for domestic transport. (For smaller airliners also non-governmental non-beneficial organizations.)
 
uta999
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:24 am

If it was so easy and doable on the 787, most airlines would have already done it by now, to move away from RR.

It turns out it is not possible or practical.
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SEPilot
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:45 pm

uta999 wrote:
If it was so easy and doable on the 787, most airlines would have already done it by now, to move away from RR.

It turns out it is not possible or practical.

It would also be extremely expensive. Unless they can get their money back from RR they would be stuck with paying for two sets of engines plus two sets of pylons and all the other costs. And RR is unlikely to willingly give them their money back, which would mean a long and costly court battle. Long before the court battle is over the engines will have been fixed.
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Kindanew
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:53 pm

Antaras wrote:
Yes, you can.
On some type (787), you can change the engine easily, as Boeing said.
However, on some other types, it isn't easy to change the engines' type. You have to change and edit the wing structure, bunches of systems, etc.


As I understand it, easily changing engines on the 787 was a design aspiration which fell by the wayside.
 
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zeke
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:02 pm

SEPilot wrote:
It would also be extremely expensive. Unless they can get their money back from RR they would be stuck with paying for two sets of engines plus two sets of pylons and all the other costs. And RR is unlikely to willingly give them their money back, which would mean a long and costly court battle. Long before the court battle is over the engines will have been fixed.


At one stage I think they would have welcomed getting some engines back to build up a pool to use to swap out.

Not only is a new engine an expense, there is the downtime for the airframe, and the assumption the GE has the capacity to produce more unplanned engines. Wouldn’t be surprised if it takes over a year to manufacture an engine.
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Polot
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:13 pm

The 787 engine swap dream was envisioned more for leasing companies and boosting resale value (don’t have to worry about what engine type your frame has) than to support an airline changing their mind about what engine they wanted with fleet in hand.
 
Phoenix757767
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:08 pm

The 787 doesn’t have engine swap capability, it was a pipe dream.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... challenges
 
Yikes!
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:01 am

On many large jets, manufacturers offer a multitude of engine choices. Once installed, it is very expensive to change from one to another. I think the original question might have been towards something like Canada's Canadair CL-215 (with originally designed Pratt & Whitney R-2800-83AM radial engines) being converted to the CL-415 (with a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW123AF turbine engines). A very successful conversion with the old -215's no longer in production. There were other types among smaller aircraft types - the Beaver/Turbo-Beaver, Otter/Turbo-Otter, DC-3/C-47 to Basler Turbo 67 (https://www.baslerturbo.com/).

Hope that helps!
 
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747classic
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:27 am

skipness1E wrote:
Atlas Air had a JT9D powered B747-200 re-engines with CF6s for fleet commonality, but it’s not cheap and you’d need a very good business case.


The first two E-4A aircraft (747-200B's) were powered by JT9D engines and after a few years re-engined with CF6-50E engines, the re-engine Service Bulletin (SB) was paid by the military and Boeing.
Boeing temporally re-engined the 747 prototype with CF6-50D engines for certification of the CF6/747 combination in 1974.

Years later Atlas Air used the same SB to re-engine two 747-200F aircraft with JT9D engines to CF6-50E2 power for fleet commonality.
Engines and pylons used : CF6-45A engines (derated CF6-50E2) from retired ANA 747SR aircraft.
Last edited by 747classic on Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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747classic
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Re: Can engine type be changed on an airplane?

Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:38 am

ADent wrote:
Even GE didn't re-engine its 747-100 test bed that came with P&W engines.


The combination 747-100 and CF6-50 has not been certified.

Only at the 747 prototype (also a 747-100) the combination has been flown.(see above) under the "experimental "waiver.l

The CF6-50 engine has only been (FAA) certified at the 747SR, 747-200B, 200C, 200F and 747-300 series.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.

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