Quality Magazine

Pratt & Whitney Team Receives Award for Outstanding Engineering Accomplishment

May 28, 2010

EAST HARTFORD, CT-Pratt & Whitney engineers Louis Celiberti, Timothy Crowley, James Fuller and Cary Powell won the George Mead Award-United Technologies Corp.'s highest award for outstanding engineering achievement-for their pioneering work in developing the world's first advanced multi-variable control (AMVC) design for the only engine that powers the F-35 Lightning II flight test program. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. company.

The AMVC, which uses a proprietary model predictive control methodology, is the most technically advanced propulsion system control ever produced by the aerospace industry, demonstrating the highest pilot rating for flight performance and providing independent control of vertical thrust and pitch from five sources. This innovative and industry-leading advanced design is protected with five broad patents for Pratt & Whitney and UTC, and is the new standard for propulsion system control for Pratt & Whitney military and commercial engines.

The Pratt & Whitney F135 propulsion system control enables the F-35 to operate successfully in two modes: the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) mode, and short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) mode. The AMVC design solves the most technically challenging performance requirements of the entire F-35 program, the ability to precisely and independently control lift (thrust) and aircraft pitch (split between front and rear post thrust). By applying the precise control of the magnitude and direction of thrust, safe and predictable vertical lift flight is now possible. The F135 propulsion system control provides a major step-change in safe and reliable vertical operation for military aircraft.

"The Pratt & Whitney advanced multi-variable control is integrated directly into the aircraft's flight control system and provides the F135 with the ability to maintain thrust requirements while safely operating at or near physical engine limits. The failure immunity built into this system is key to achieving the single engine safety requirement of the F-35 aircraft for our military customer," says Jayant Sabnis, system analysis & aerodynamics chief, Pratt & Whitney.

"This is a very important engineering achievement and it represents the highest technical recognition awarded by United Technologies Corporation," says Paul Adams, senior vice president, Pratt & Whitney Engineering. "I am extremely proud of the exceptional contributions of these individuals, as well as the dedication and professionalism of the entire P&W team, in bringing both the control system and the engine to this remarkable state of readiness."

The AMVC team honored with the George Mead Award consists of Louis Celiberti, F135 controls & diagnostics systems CIPT leader; Tim Crowley, controls & diagnostics systems staff engineer; James Fuller, controls & diagnostics fellow; and Cary Powell, controls & diagnostics systems staff engineer, all of whom work in East Hartford, CT.

The award-winning technical achievement of the Pratt & Whitney AMVC architecture is demonstrated in a video narrated by Lockheed Martin Chief Test Pilot Jon Beesley.

The same control system architecture is used in all three variants of the Pratt & Whitney-powered F135 single-engine F-35 Lightning II, and the technology will also provide benefits to P&W's Next Generation Product Family commercial engines currently in development.

The Mead Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in engineering or science. UTC has recognized outstanding achievements in engineering and science with this award for more than 50 years. Named for George Jackson Mead, the first vice president of engineering for Pratt & Whitney, UTC's oldest and most prestigious corporate award has been given to 219 individuals in 94 separate citations. It remains the only UTC corporate award presented to individuals.