New CFM LEAP engine takes to the Sky
CFM International’s LEAP engine took the skies for the first time on 6 October on a modified 747 flying testbed at GE Aviation Flight Test Operations in Victorville, California, launching the next phase of testing for the advanced engine program.
The engine behaved well and completed multiple aeromechnical test points at various altitudes during the nearly three-hour first flight. Over the next several weeks, the engine will complete a comprehensive test schedule that will gauge engine operability, stall margin, performance, and acoustics. The LEAP-1A/-1C variants are on track for engine certification in 2015.
„The LEAP engine behaved like a real veteran as we took it through its aerodynamic clearance points,“ said chief test pilot Steven Crane. „The durability and reliability one expects from a CFM product is clearly there. The flight test data also showed the benefits this engine has gained from leveraging GEnx core technology. I think this flight was a very positive foreshadowing of great things to come for the LEAP engine family.“
CFM is currently executing the most extensive ground and flight test certification program in its history. The total program, which encompasses all three LEAP engine variants, includes 28 ground and CFM flight test engines, along with a total of 32 flight test engines for Airbus, Boeing, and COMAC.
Although all three LEAP engine variants will fly on the modified testbed, the configuration currently being tested is a fully integrated propulsion system (IPS). This IPS is an industry first and unique to the LEAP-1C. CFM provides the engine as well as the nacelle and thrust reverser developed by Nexcelle*. These elements, including the pylon provided by COMAC, were designed in conjunction with each other, resulting in a total system that provides improved aerodynamics, lower weight, and easier maintenance.
The foundation of the LEAP engine is heavily rooted in advanced aerodynamics, environmental, and materials technology development programs. It will provide double-digit improvements in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to today’s best CFM engine, along with dramatic reductions in engine noise and emissions. All this technology brings with it CFM’s legendary reliability and low maintenance costs.
About CFM International
CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE, is the world’s leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines, has delivered more than 26,500 CFM56 engines to date. The LEAP engine has experienced the fastest order ramp up in commercial aviation history, with 7,700 firm orders and commitments on the books as of September 30, 2014. For more information, visit us at www.cfmaeroengines.com or follow us on Twitter @CFM_engines.
* Nexcelle is a joint venture between Aircelle (Safran) and GE Aviation’s Middle River Aircraft Systems (MRAS).