A Mammoth Partnership Powering Aviation World

In April this year, CFM International surpassed 50,000 CFM LEAP and CFM 56 engines sold to over 600 customers around the world

Issue: 11-2022By Ayushee ChaudharyPhoto(s): By CFM International

Since its creation in 1974, CFM international, the 50/50 joint-venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines, has been an important player in the commercial aviation industry. CFM, CFM56, LEAP, RISE and the CFM logo are trademarks of CFM International that have taken the company to be among world’s leading suppliers of commercial aircraft engines. 48 years ago Safran Engines and GE Aviation partnered to create CFM, producing the largest fleet of commercial jet engines with innovation and sustainability in mind. In April this year, CFM International surpassed 50,000 CFM LEAP and CFM 56 engines sold to over 600 customers around the world, accumulating over 1 billion engine flight hours.

45 years ago in 1977, CFM 56 made its first flight, and ten years after that in 1987, it was the first flight of the Airbus A320 powered by the CFM56 engine. Within a few years, the CFM56-5B became the engine offered on the entire A320 family. CFM has produced and delivered the world’s largest fleet of jet engines in the single-aisle market. To support unprecedented production rate, as CFM parent companies, both GE Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines have added new manufacturing capability at sites throughout the US and France, making a combined capital investment of more than $1 billion since 2005.

The advanced CFM LEAP engine continues to set new industry standards for fuel efficiency and asset utilisation, accumulating more than 23 million engine flight hours and 10 million cycles in commercial operation. The fleet is providing 15 to 20 per cent better fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions, as well as a significant improvement in noise compared to previous generation engines. Since its entry into service in 2016, the LEAP engine allowed operators to save more than 15 million tonnes of CO2 and the LEAP engine has surpassed 20 million flight hours while the LEAP-1A engine alone has logged over 12 million flight hours. On its way to engine certification, CFM pushed its LEAP test programme to the limit. To meet the performance and reliability expectations made to its customers, a total of 60 LEAP engines were built to execute the most extensive ground and flight test certification programme in the company’s history. The LEAP-1A, LEAP-1B and LEAP-1C engine models have all been jointly certified by EASA and FAA.

At the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) this year, GE announced becoming the first to successfully test high power, high voltage hybrid electric aircraft engine components at simulated altitude conditions. The technology GE is advancing “will help make hybrid electric flight a reality for everyday commercial air travel, and it should have a real and necessary impact on the carbon emissions associated with flying”. Specifically, GE and NASA ran a megawatt-class, multi-kilovolt hybrid electric system in conditions simulating altitudes up to 45,000 feet. Single-aisle planes could account for 70 per cent of the world’s rapidly growing commercial aviation fleet in the near future.

The company underlines, with aviation accounting for about 2.5 per cent of global CO2 emissions, hybrid electric propulsion technologies could help bring the number down. Hybrid electric technology is also compatible with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and hydrogen, and with proposed, more efficient engine designs ensuring 15 per cent improvement in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, compared to CFM56 engines.

CFM: 20 MILESTONES

1974

Creation of CFM International
On September 24, the official founding of CFM International, as a 50/50 joint company.

1977

First Flight
The CFM56 made its first flight on a Caravelle flying testbed on March 17, 1977.

 
 
1979

First Order
On March 29, United Airlines announces an order to reengine 30 Douglas DC8-71 jetliners with the CFM56-2.

1982

April 1982: Entry into Service
The first commercial flight of a CFM56 takes place on April 24, 1982.

 
1984

March: First CFM56-powered Boeing 737
Takes place in March 1984, powered by the CFM56-3, specially developed to reengine the 737

1984

December: The Ramp-up begins
300 CFM56 engines were delivered in 1984.

 
1987

CFM Powers Airbus
The CFM56-5A logs its first flight on an A320 on February 22, 1987

1991

Unprecedented Production
Nearly 900 CFM56 engines (-2,-3 and -5) are delivered in 1991.

 
 
1993

Boeing Confirms
Boeing chooses the CFM56-7 in 1993 as the exclusive engine for the Next-Generation 737.

1997

First flight of Boeing 737 NG
The first flight of a CFM56-7Bpowered Boeing Next-Generation 737 jetliner takes place in February 1997.

 
 
1999

1000 engines a year
CFM reaches the threshold of 1,000 engines per year

2004

Higher Performance CFM56 engines
CFM offers “Tech Insertion” packs for engines already in service, significantly reducing fuel consumption, emissions and maintenance costs.

 
 
2005

15,000th CFM56
CFM passes the milestone of 15,000 CFM56 engines produced

2005

CFM LEAP Unveiled
At the Paris Air Show, CFM unveils its Leading Edge Advanced Propulsion (LEAP) initiative, entailing the preparatory steps for the launch of a new engine.

 
 
2008

Partnership extended to 2040
GE and Snecma extend their partnership until the year 2040, and expand the agreement to include aftermarket services.

2013

1,500 engines/year
CFM sets a new production record, delivering 1,502 CFM56 engines in 2013.

 
 
2016

Production Peak
1,693 CFM56 engines (CFM56-5B and -7BE) and 77 LEAP engines were delivered in 2016

2017

Production Ramp-down begins
1,444 CFM56 engines are delivered in 2017, while ramp-up in LEAP production continues, with 459 delivered

 
 
2018

Year of Transition
CFM sets a new record, delivering 2,162 engines in 2018. For the first time, more LEAP engines than CFM56 engines are delivered

2019

Thanks a Billion!
The CFM56 fleet reaches one billion flight-hours, representing more than 35 billion passengers carried! More than 33,400 CFM56 engines have been delivered to date and 28,000 are now in service with some 600 operators worldwide.

Source: CFM

CFM56 ENGINES

 AircraftEnginesOperatorsHoursCycles
CFM56-2A E3/KE3/E64119342,907,4251,194, 938
CFM56-2B KC/RC1354701,966528,740,2858,634,932
CFM56-2C DC8-70110525Out of
Service
16,348,9806,927,353
CFM56-3 B737-300/-400/-5001,9894,496297225,881,887159,904,943
CFM56-5A A319ceo/A320ceo5351,1915062,939,83736,160,575
CFM56-5B A318ceo/A319ceo/A320ceo/A321ceo/ACJ4,1889,091218256,452,633146,170,258
CFM56-5C A3402471,1333674,341,58411,002,791
CFM56-7B B737-600/-700/-800/-900/BBJ7,08915,211256469,578, 917242,324,614
Total14,66933,8066701,137,191,548612,320,404

*as of December 31, 2021,
Source: CFM

LEAP ENGINES

 AircraftEnginesOperatorsHoursCycles
LEAP-1A A320neo1,1132,4437312,066,4055,941,229
LEAP-1B 737 MAX6731,528563,225,6521,226,776
Total1,7863,97112715,292,0577,168,005

*as of December 31, 2021,
Source: CFM

4,300 CFM LEAP engines have been delivered to the customers, flying an average of 10 hours a day and up to 11 flight cycles, every day. This has also made way for more uptime and less downtime as well as a higher utilisation of 96 per cent which means more flights & more flexibility to fly when and how you want. Additionally, supporting 25-minute gate turnaround times, which means less time at the gate and more flying. The engine uses 90 miles per gallon per passenger, delivering 20 per cent fuel efficiency, flying with LEAP uses 66 per cent less fuel. It also opens up new routes, supporting longer flight legs, enabling flight options of eight hours or more. The engine is 3-D woven and has also proven to be aerodynamically efficient. The LEAP engine’s fan blades are manufactured from 3-D woven RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) carbon fiber composites, an industry first for CFM. This technology results in fan blades that are not only lightweight but so durable that each individual blade is strong enough to support the weight of a wide-body airplane like the Airbus A350 or Boeing 787. The LEAP engine is the first engine to use additive manufacturing to “grow” complex, fully dense yet lighter engines. Its fuel nozzles are 25 per cent lighter than previous models and five times more durable than parts manufactured conventionally.

The LEAP engine features the second generation twinannular, Premixing Swirler Combustor (TAPS II) that reduces NOx emissions by 50 per cent versus CAEP/6 standards. Unlike traditional combustors that mix fuel and air inside the combustion chamber, the LEAP nozzle pre-mixes these elements to provide what our engineers call lean burn combustion. We just call it revolutionary. The unique LEAP debris rejection system provides the best erosion protection, preventing sand, dirt, and other harmful particles from reaching the engine core. As a result, the highly durable, more efficient LEAP engine stays newer for longer. The LEAP engine started revenue service in August 2016 and as of June 2022, more than 4,000 LEAP engines were in service on six continents, flying in various environments, listing 9,700 LEAP engines on order.

The CFM56 engine was built on over four decades of experience and technological excellence. With more than 33,000 engines delivered to date, it powers more than 600 operators worldwide and has logged more than 1 billion flight hours. The CFM56-5B is the engine of choice for the A320ceo family, having been selected to power nearly 60 per cent of the aircraft ordered. Today, it is the only engine that can power every model of the A320ceo family with one bill of materials. The engine’s broad-based market acceptance has been because of its simple, rugged architecture, which gives it the highest reliability, durability, reparability and the lowest cost of ownership in its class.

The CFM56-7B is the exclusive engine for the Boeing Next-Generation single-aisle airliner. In total, more than 15,000 CFM56-7B engines have been delivered to power 737 aircraft, making it among the most popular engine-aircraft combinations in commercial aviation history. The engine’s broad-based market acceptance is due to its simple, rugged architecture, which gives it the highest reliability, durability, and reparability with the lowest cost of ownership in its class.

Demand for the CFM56 family is still strong. In 2016, the CFM56 programme reached record production rates and the manufacturer is sure that the production will continue until all current aircraft orders are filled. GE Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines will also continue to provide spare engines and parts, and comprehensive through-life support during the CFM56’s remaining service lifetime of over 30 years.