Not funny anymore
- Feb 6, 2008
- Reaction score
But, it's fairly easy to replace compressor blades.
That misses the problem in real airliner operations: It isn't the compressor blades, it is the turbine that will be more vulnerable and expensive to replace. Also the compressor blades are pretty hard to replace, compared to the fan blades of a turbo fan. It is not done by simply opening a hatch, unscrew the old blade and put a new blade there. It is more like the jet engine equivalent to a piston engine head seal replacement - the part costs much less than the work hours needed for only getting the old part removed.
Next, even if the engine would not reach the turbo-fan MTBF, it could still be a success: What counts is the number of flights that the Skylon could fly before components need to be replaced. The Space Shuttle Main Engine did only do 5 flights AFAIR before it needed replacement and expensive inspection and overhaul between flights.
I am pretty sure that this aspect will also make it into the business proposal.
The cooler looks pretty modular to me, I am pretty sure it could be possible to remove one section of the cooler and replace it, and to inspect the cooler tubes by automatic tools in economic time.
A loss of a tube and it entering the compressor section would be the design accident there in my eyes, but how likely is it really? I think leaking of gaseous helium and a related measurable change in pressure drop would be the more likely symptom of cooler erosion... and this could be isolated pretty easy for diagnosis, even in real-time.