Snecma has started running the first Silvercrest turbofan at its Villaroche test facility, near Paris. With 11,000 pounds of thrust, the Silvercrest will power the Cessna Longitude super-midsize business jet. EASA engine certification is slated for 2015 and FAA validation is expected shortly thereafter.
Safran USA (Booth No. 2579) is flexing some considerable muscle here at the convention, showing a diverse role in the business aircraft market that stretches from nose to tail and wingtip to wingtip. Among the aviation products available from this global conglomerate are turbofan engines, nacelles, thrust reversers, landing gear, wheels and brakes, auxiliary power units, avionics, navigation systems, flight controls and wiring.
CFM faces some uncertainties surrounding its Leap-1C turbofans for the Comac C919 narrowbody, although the engine program schedule calls for that variant of the three-member Leap family to go to test first.
CFM, the 50/50 joint venture between GE and Snecma, has embarked on a “major” risk-abatement plan to ensure a smooth production transition from its CFM56 to the new Leap-1A, B and C engines, chosen to power, respectively, the Airbus A320neo, the Boeing 737 Max and the Comac C919 single-aisle airliners. “Transitioning from 1,600 engines per year to the same output of another type in two years, this is something the industry has never done before,” François Harant, Snecma’s supply chain director, told AIN.
Two study contracts have been placed with industry after last week’s Anglo-French agreement on further exploration of a joint UCAV development. BAE Systems, together with Dassault Aviation, and Rolls-Royce with Snecma will work on the demonstration program preparation phase (DPPP) of the proposed future combat air system (FCAS). The value and duration of the work were not stated.
Dassault has begun cutting metal for its still-under-wraps Falcon super-midsize (SMS) business jet. The first parts reportedly are being manufactured for testing purposes at its Argenteuil factory northwest of Paris.
A cockpit subassembly will be used for bird-strike trials, and leading-edge slats will undergo de-icing tests. In addition, a testbed is being readied for the fuel system.
The problems with the A400M’s TP400-D6 turboprop engine that caused the airlifter to be scratched from this week’s Farnborough International flight demonstrations will slow civil certification and first delivery of the aircraft, but are not expected to delay its entry into service with the French air force next year. Production aircraft do not have the same issues.
The aero-acoustic geometry fan blades, fan case and several other parts of CFM International’s Leap engine series will be the first major engine application of a new technology, 3-D woven composites. The process was pioneered by Albany Engineering Composites (AEC), a U.S. company that has teamed with CFM parent company Snecma and has granted the French engine maker exclusivity for its process (for propulsion applications) for the life of the Leap program.
Few expected CFM International to match its record sales campaign of 2011 this year, but after his company sold 900 engines through the first six months of 2012, one might excuse company chief executive Jean-Paul Ebanga for a moment to allow him to catch his breath.
CFM International remains on track with development process of the Leap series of engines that it laid out four years ago. The 50/50 partnership between General Electric and Safran subsidiary Snecma announced it has recently frozen the designs for its new Leap 1A and 1C engines destined for use on the Airbus A320neo and the Chinese Comac C919 narrowbody airliners, which are scheduled to enter service in 2016.