Farnborough Air Show

Airbus, CFM Team on Open Fan Engine Flight Test

 - July 19, 2022, 8:00 AM
Left to right: Mohamed Ali, v-p engineering, GE Aerospace; Sabine Klauke, Airbus chief technical officer; François Bastin, v-p, commercial engines, Safran Aircraft Engines.

Airbus and CFM International plan to flight test CFM’s open fan engine architecture aboard an Airbus A380, the companies said at the Farnborough Airshow Tuesday. Conducted as part of CFM’s Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engine (RISE) demonstration program, the engine manufacturer—a joint venture between GE and Safran—will first perform engine ground tests and flight test validation at GE Aviation’s Flight Test Operations center in California in the U.S. The A380 demonstration tests, expected in the second half of the decade, will follow, performed from the Airbus flight test facility in Toulouse France.

The flight test program’s objectives include enhanced understanding of engine/wing integration, aerodynamic performance, and propulsion system efficiency gains; validating performance benefits and improved fuel efficiency for a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions over today’s most efficient powerplants; evaluating acoustic models; and ensuring the open fan engine’s compatibility with 100 percent SAF.

New propulsion technologies will play a key role in achieving aviation’s net-zero objectives, noted Sabine Klauke, Airbus CTO, and “evaluating, maturing, and validating open fan engine architecture using a dedicated flight test demonstrator [would make a] significant contribution” toward industrywide decarbonization efforts, she said.

The collaboration also highlights the diversity of Airbus’s technology demonstrator portfolio, the European airframer said, which includes a joint flight test program with CFM to validate hydrogen propulsion capability, announced in February.

Additionally, last October Airbus, CFM, GE, and Safran signed the Air Transport Action Group goal of achieving aviation industry net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, to be achieved through the development and testing of the necessary technology.