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.
Boeing 737 MAX
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.
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.
GE Aviation announced on March 26 that it will break ground this year on a new $100 million assembly plant in Lafayette, Ind., to produce Leap engines for narrowbody airliners as part of its CFM International joint venture with France’s Snecma. It expects the plant will create 200 jobs by 2020.
Boeing said it has completed aerodynamics, engine and weight audits that together have given it a clearer picture of the future operating performance of the new 737 Max. The manufacturer now says the re-engined narrowbody will burn 14 percent less fuel than today’s 737-800NG, one percent better than it previously estimated.
Engine manufacturer CFM International reports that the Leap series of turbofans under development for the new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 Max and Comac C919 narrowbodies is performing as planned since full engine testing began last month. “I’m proud and really happy to tell you that the engine is running smoothly,” Chaker Chahrour, CFM executive vice president, told reporters in a teleconference on October 16. “This engine wants to run.”
CFM International—the 50-50 joint venture between GE and France’s Snecma—has started testing the first full Leap turbofan engine, the company announced Friday. The Leap-1A—one of the powerplant choices for the Airbus A320neo—fired for the first time on September 4, two days ahead of schedule.
Boeing and Ryanair reached terms on the U.S. manufacturer’s largest ever firm aircraft order from a European airline yesterday. The deal, worth $15.6 billion at current list prices, calls for delivery over five years of 175 new Boeing 737-800s starting in September 2014. The order stands to raise Ryanair’s fleet count to more than 400 by the summer of 2018 from about 300 today.
Aircraft propulsion and actuation systems supplier Woodward is nearly doubling its manufacturing footprint in Rockford, Illinois, reflecting the increased content the company has won on new narrowbody aircraft and derivatives.
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