Airtime Blog

How Fast™ Contributed to an Ambitious Transatlantic Flight

By PRATT & WHITNEY CUSTOMER SERVICE
October 31, 2019 | Performance, Prognostics, PT6A | 5 min read
Before attempting a rare non-stop transatlantic flight, pilots Phil Bozek and Dierk Reuter turned to Pratt & Whitney FAST™ technology to make absolutely sure they could rely on their PT6A-powered TBM 930.

A FLIGHT THAT PUSHED THE LIMITS

Creating custom-built software from scratch to analyze aircraft performance data and weather patterns over the Atlantic.

Obtaining Federal Aviation Administration approval for exceeding a TBM 930’s weight limit by 25%.

Loading a 300-gallon tank of extra fuel dubbed “Big Bertha” into the aircraft’s cabin.

These were just some of the extraordinary measures taken by Dierk Reuter and his co-pilot Phil Bozek before attempting to cross the Atlantic non-stop in a single-engine turboprop. This is a rare aviation feat that requires extensive planning and preparation to ensure that the aircraft will make it safely across, given the length of the flight and the sometimes hazardous flying conditions over the ocean.

Another of the special measures they took, with the support of our team and the TBM 930’s manufacturer Daher, was to install the Pratt & Whitney FAST™ solution on the aircraft. Daher first put the idea to Dierk and Phil while discussing how to enhance safety and performance during their flight.

The FAST system records data on many key parameters during each flight. Afterward, this data is offloaded, encrypted and wirelessly transmitted for analysis within minutes of engine shutdown. It provides operators with high-quality, timely data for monitoring engine trends and performing proactive maintenance.

While Engine Condition Trend Monitoring (ECTM) can also be done manually, it’s automatic and more accurate with Pratt & Whitney FAST.

GAINING INSIGHTS INTO ENGINE PERFORMANCE

Having spent his career in the world of global finance while also holding a degree in aerospace engineering, Dierk jumped at the idea. “I’m a data geek,” he explains. “My entire professional life, I’ve created value by analyzing numbers in great detail.”
When Daher told us about this FAST solution that collects data at a high frequency, I instantly thought it was a terrific idea. There are a lot of valuable things you can learn from that.
Dierk Reuter, TBM 930 owner/pilot.
Dierk was particularly keen on having access to Pratt & Whitney FAST data because the engine would be operating at maximum continuous power over the ocean for most of the flight.

FACILITATING PREPARATIONS WITH PERSONALIZED SUPPORT

Once informed of Dierk and Phil’s ambitious project, our company was eager to get involved and support them any way we could, beginning with FAST.

“We manufactured a customized FAST kit and the system was installed on the aircraft in December 2018 by Daher at its Service Center in Florida,” explains Daniel Lizée, Associate Director, Digital Engine Services, Pratt & Whitney Canada.

While the Pratt & Whitney FAST solution has been installed on newly produced TBM 930s since 2018, Daher had to retrofit it onto Dierk and Phil’s aircraft. It was the first time this was done for a TBM 930 already in service.
When crossing the Atlantic non-stop on a single-engine turboprop, you want to make sure that the engine is in top-notch condition and there will be no surprises. FAST is able to support demanding missions like this by providing detailed insight into the engine’s performance before the flight.
Daniel Lizée, Associate Director, Digital Engine Services, Pratt & Whitney Canada
We also assigned a dedicated analyst to check the engine’s trend data after every flight in the months leading up to the transatlantic journey. That included a flight to the South Pole and test flights in the U.S. prior to flying across the Atlantic.

Whether operating at -55°C or at maximum cruise power, the PT6A-66D engine handled every challenge flawlessly, confirming Dierk’s impressions of its capabilities.
I started flying with the PT6A in 2010. I’ve found it to be super-reliable and super-efficient. There’s really nothing else to be said. It just works. I’ve never had an aircraft on ground situation.
Dierk Reuter, TBM 930 owner/pilot

SETTING SIGHTS ON A NEW TARGET

On March 8, Dierk and Phil set off from New York State’s Westchester County Airport. They successfully completed the gruelling flight to Le Bourget Airport in Paris – where Charles Lindbergh famously touched down in the Spirit of St. Louis after the first-ever solo transatlantic flight in 1927 – in less than nine hours, which was a remarkable achievement.

Their single-turboprop aircraft finished the journey approximately 1.5 hours faster than the twin-engine aircraft that held the previous transatlantic flight record. That was a Piper Cheyenne 400LS flown by legendary pilot Chuck Yeager, the first man to break the sound barrier, in 1985.

Dierk appreciates all the support they received from our team, including customer engineers Joe Welch and Dan Elsemiller, who were on hand to offer last-minute assistance and see them off when they began their journey.
From left to right: Dan Elsemiller (P&W), Dierk Reuter, Phil Bozek and Joe Welch (P&W)
Now, Dierk has an even more ambitious project in mind: to break the record for a round-the-world flight in the southern hemisphere. Thanks in part to the efforts of our support team, he intends to use the same aircraft, powered by the same PT6A-66D engine.
Dierk and Phil already knew they were flying one of the most reliable engines in the world. When that was backed up by us keeping constant watch on its performance, it gave them the confidence that they could safely cross the Atlantic while relying on a single engine to perform optimally. That’s the ultimate added value of the FAST solution.
Daniel Lizée, Associate Director, Digital Engine Services, Pratt & Whitney Canada
Pratt & Whitney FAST is also making a difference to customers in their day-to-day operations. Check out 4 Ways FAST Helps Ag Aircraft Operators Grow Their Business for some examples.