CFM International on October 9 achieved the first flight of its new Leap engine when an example of the new turbofan took off on a modified Boeing 747 flying testbed from GE Aviation’s flight-test operations center in Victorville, Calif. The new series of turbofans is set to power the Airbus A320neo, the Boeing 737 Max and China’s Comac C919 new-generation narrowbodies.
Airbus A320neo family
Airbus began immediate processing of flight-test data from the A320neo’s September 25 first flight, which Single Aisle program experimental test pilot Philippe Pellerin described as “a lot of fun” as he emerged from the aircraft at the Toulouse-Blagnac factory in southwest France. The first A320neo, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM geared turbofan (GTF) engines in the 33,000-pounds thrust class, “really feels like an A320–which is good news,” remarked fellow experimental test pilot Etienne Miche de Malleray, who occupied the right-hand seat.
Pratt & Whitney on Sunday announced that is has managed to reduce fuel burn on the PW1100G-JM for the A320neo family by another 2 percent. Dubbed the PurePower Engine Advantage, the enhancement centers on improved aerodynamics and cooling.
Day one of the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow proved to be a lucrative one for just about all manufacturers of airliners and the engines that power them. An approximate estimate of business announced here yesterday quickly topped $50 billion.
While calling extending its geared turbofan engine family’s thrust rating by another 2,000 pounds “a big deal,” Pratt & Whitney next-generation product family vice president Bob Saia sees still bigger things in the company’s future, including what he called an Advanced GTF that could rival an open-rotor design in fuel efficiency by the middle of the next decade. For now, though, Saia finds himself “busy as a bee” with the five core programs already under way at the U.S. company.
Engine manufacturer CFM International announced yesterday here at Farnborough International 2014 that American Airlines has selected its Leap-1A turbofan engine to power 100 Airbus A320neos. At list price, CFM values the engine order at $2.6 billion. The aircraft order was originally announced in July 2011 and American will begin taking delivery of the aircraft in 2017.
By the end of the year, CFM (OE 22) plans to have put together and tested around 20 Leap-1A/B/C turbofans, in preparation for their first flights next year and in 2016 on their respective application airframes. The Franco-American engine manufacturer is also gearing up for a swift production ramp-up, planned to reach an annual 1,700 engines by the end of the decade. The Leap will power the Airbus A320neo (Leap-1A), the Boeing 737 Max (Leap-1B) and Comac C919 (Leap-1C) narrowbodies.
CFM International has begun ground testing of the first Leap-1B engine developed to power Boeing’s new 737 Max family of narrowbody airliners. The joint venture between Snecma and GE announced today that ground tests began three days ahead of schedule on June 13 and that the 23,000- to 28,000-pound-thrust turbofan already has achieved full takeoff thrust.
Pratt & Whitney’s launch on Tuesday of a 35,000-pound-thrust version of its Geared Turbofan extends the family’s power range by another 2,000 pounds, giving Airbus A321neo customers enough range and payload capability to effectively operate from such hot and high locations as Mexico City and Bogota. Dubbed the PW1135G-JM, the engine gets its extra thrust from leftover development margin extracted from the design of the family as a whole, thereby requiring no hardware or design changes, explained Pratt & Whitney vice president of engineering Tom Prete.
A contract for 30 of the new 737 Max airliners placed by an undisclosed customer on Tuesday has pushed Boeing passed 2,000 orders for the new generation narrowbody. According to the U.S. airframer, the Max has reached the 2,000-order mark faster than any other Boeing aircraft. Boeing now holds 2,010 orders from 39 customers worldwide, with a collective value of $209 billion at list prices, plus commitments for more than 250 additional aircraft.
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