Gleaming on the Safran display (Stand 357) is a mock-up of the Snecma Silvercrest engine, which has been selected for the Cessna Citation Longitude super-midsize business jet. Displaying the model, which was first shown a few weeks ago at NBAA, underlines the fact that Silvercrest is now a program moving fast towards certification in 2015. Ground tests have already started (see MEBA Convention News, Tuesday) and the first flight trials on the right-hand nacelle of a specially modified Gulfstream II are scheduled to begin in the summer.
Here at MEBA, Loïc Nicolas, Snecma’s general manager for the business aviation market, outlined some of the support infrastructure that is being planned for the Silvercrest. “Support is a key target for us,” he said. “We will have a maintenance customer support center in the U.S., and another one in Asia. A center in France will cover Europe and the Middle East.”
Establishing regional centers smoothes the support process by removing the distribution of parts over long distances, and by overcoming major time-zone differences. “We want to be totally integrated with the area where our customers will fly,” said Nicolas. For its initial application in the Longitude, Snecma will naturally partner with existing Cessna maintenance centers.
Snecma is using sophisticated performance monitoring systems that allow data to be downlinked to ground centers for computerized analysis. This technology is drawn down from that developed for the CFM56 airliner engines that Snecma builds in a joint venture with GE.
Nicolas sees a bright future for the Silvercrest engine. “We see that new aircraft are requiring more thrust and more range, in any category, and they also want higher cruise speeds,” he explained. “To achieve that they need new-generation engines with exceptionally low fuel consumption.”