After completing approximately 450 hours of ground and flight testing, the advanced CFM International's CFM56-7BE is on track for joint U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency certification by 31 July
Engine certification will pave the way for flight tests on the Boeing 737 in late 2010 and entry into service by mid-2011 to coincide with Boeing Next-Generation 737 airframe improvements.
In May of this year, the engine completed a 60-hour certification flight test program aboard GE's modified 747 flying testbed in Victorville, California. In addition, the CFM56-7BE completed a grueling 150-hour block test at Snecma facilities in Villaroche, France, during which it operated at what is referred to as triple redline: maximum fan speed, maximum core speed, and maximum exhaust gas temperature. This test simulates conditions far more extreme than would ever be experienced in commercial service to validate the reliability and durability of the hardware.
The first full CFM56-7BE type design engine completed ground testing in January 2010, and engine operation and performance was as expected. Overall, the engine completed 390 hours of ground testing (including the block test) and achieved all the technical requirements and met the key objectives for performance improvement, acoustics, engine operation and durability.
The CFM56-7BE-powered Next-Generation 737 enhanced airplane/engine combination will provide a 2 percent improvement in fuel consumption, which, in turn, equates to a 2 percent reduction in carbon emissions. Additionally, the enhanced -7B will provide up to 4 percent lower maintenance costs, depending on the thrust rating.
CFM is using advanced computer codes and three-dimensional design techniques to improve airfoils in the high- and low-pressure turbines to improve engine performance. In addition, CFM is improving engine durability and reducing parts count to achieve lower maintenance costs.
CFM is a 50/50 joint company of Snecma (Safran group) and GE.