Protecting Your Turboshaft Engine from Particles

By Pratt & Whitney Customer Service

Operating in harsh conditions, such as flying over hot desert terrain on a search-and-rescue mission, can be tough on an aircraft. Some of the main culprits are particles. Discover what they can do to your engine—and what you can do about it.

How Engine Erosion Occurs

Sand, dust, dirt and harder particles like quartz or construction debris will cause erosion if they are drawn into your engine. Over time, this erosion may reduce efficiency and impact performance by damaging critical components, especially the engine compressor. The accumulation of fine sand inside the engine can also damage turbine components or clog internal air passages for specific engine models. An inlet barrier filter (IBF) can help.

The Inlet Barrier Filter Advantage

To cut the engine erosion problem off at the source, P&WC recommends using an IBF. This an effective filter system you can install on your aircraft that creates a physical barrier to keep out contaminants. The engine does not have to be running for it to be effective. It keeps particles out and prevents foreign object damage at all times, whether in the air or on the ground. However, since it’s an internal filter system, there are some additional maintenance considerations and costs. You also need to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to eliminate any gaps or leaks that might allow contaminated air in.


An Inlet Barrier Filter is Not Effective for Salt

Even with an IBF, you can’t stop salt from getting into your engine, especially if your aircraft is operating in an offshore ocean environment. Over time, this will contribute to engine sulfidation or hot corrosion. Protectingyour engine against sulfidation can prolong your engine's life.

You can slow down and minimize salt’s corrosive effect on engine parts by performing regular desalination washes on your engine. Depending on the engine type, you may need to do two different washes, compressor desalination and turbine desalination, to ensure thorough cleaning. How often you should do that depends on the environment where the aircraft is flying. Refer to your engine maintenance manual for more details on the frequency.

If you’re operating in an erosive environment, an inlet barrier filter and regular desalination washes will help minimize your engine’s exposure to harmful particles. It will also improve its durability, prevent unscheduled removals and avoid the need for costly repairs and refurbishment.

Inlet Barrier Filter Upgrade

When you install an approved IBF on a PW206- or PW207-powered helicopter, this limited-time P&WCSMARTTM program gives you the opportunity to exchange your core engine for a new engine covered by our Fleet Enhancement Program or a zero time since overhaul engine at a discounted price.