CFM Leapfrogs With Huge Orders

The foundation of the LEAP engine is heavily rooted in advanced aerodynamics, environmental and materials technology development programmes.

Issue: 3 / 2014By R. ChandrakanthPhoto(s): By Eric Drouin / SAFRAN

CFM International revved up its engine for a great start in 2014, booking orders for 614 CFM56 including 262 LEAP engines to date. The company till date has received total orders for nearly 6,000 LEAP engines across all three models, while total CFM56 engine orders stand at more than 30,640 engines. “This is a great way to come off a record orders year,” said Jean-Paul Ebanga, President and CEO of CFM International. “Having more than 600 engines already on the books – and it is only February – is just incredible. We take it as a true testament to the faith our customers have in our products and in our ability to execute on our promises.”

Ebanga Added: “As we get ready to celebrate our 40th anniversary later this year, we constantly remind ourselves that we simply could not be here without the tremendous trust that has been placed in us by Airbus, Boeing, and COMAC, as well as by our 530 operators around the globe. It is truly humbling.”

The company CFM officially launched the LEAP engine, which is its first all-new centreline engine in nearly 40 years, in 2008.

The LEAP engine promises to bring double-digit improvements in fuel efficiency, emissions and noise, while the legendary reliability and low-cost of ownership of its predecessor, the ubiquitous maintaining CFM56 engine family. The LEAP-1A is an engine as an option on the A320neo family; and the LEAP-1C engine is the sole Western powerplant for the COMAC C919; and the LEAP-1B is the sole powerplant for Boeing’s new 737 MAX.

LEAP Engine Testing Continues on Schedule

The LEAP engine certification programme is proceeding on schedule, with 20 total engines to be on test by end of 2014. “This is the most extensive development and certification programme in our history,” said Chaker Chahrour, Executive Vice President of CFM. “The tests we are performing are designed to push the limits of this engine, in addition to certifying it for commercial service.”

The first full LEAP engine began ground testing in September, two days ahead of schedule, logging a total of 310 hours and over 400 cycles during approximately five weeks of testing. This engine launched the most extensive ground and flight test certification programme in the company’s history and will encompass 60 engine builds over the next three years and will accumulate approximately 40,000 cycles before entry into service.

The engine recently successfully completed a series of early icing tests, one year ahead of required certification testing. The engine behaved very well in extremely harsh conditions, validating pre-test predictions and reinforcing the company’s confidence that the engine will certify on time and meet the performance and reliability promises made to its customers.

In the next few months, CFM will complete early endurance testing and is on track to begin flight testing both the LEAP-1A and LEAP-1C configurations at GE facilities in California.

The next big milestone will come in June when the first full LEAP-1B engine will begin ground testing at Snecma facilities in Villaroche, France.

“We are in the engine build-up phase right now,” said Cédric Goubet, CFM Executive Vice President. “Like the LEAP-1A, this engine will have extensive instrumentation and will track more than 1,500 instinct engine parameters. The hardware is coming together smoothly and we look forward to putting the engine through its paces beginning in mid-June.

“We still have a lot of testing ahead of us, and problems may turn up in future engines,” added Chahrour. “However, the point of these tests is to push the engine as hard as we can. We continue to get great data that is giving us real insight into this engine, and we are right where we want to be.”

The foundation of the LEAP engine is heavily rooted in advanced aerodynamics, environmental and materials technology development programmes. It will provide 15 per cent better fuel consumption and an equivalent reduction in 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.