LE BOURGET, France — CFM International has successfully completed testing of the third build of the advanced eCore Demonstrator program, achieving better than expected results, validating the company’s commitment to provide 15 percent better fuel efficiency compared to today’s best CFM56 engines.
The first full LEAP-1A engine is currently in assembly and is on track to begin ground testing this fall. The engine is scheduled to begin flight testing on GE’s modified 747 flying testbed in mid-2014, followed by engine certification the following year.
"The core development program could not have gone better," said Chaker Chahrour, executive vice president of CFM International. "Over the three builds, we subjected the hardware to conditions far more extreme than it will ever see in commercial service, and it passed with flying colors. We have always believed that we made the right architecture choice and were going to have a good product.
“Now we know that LEAP isn’t just going to be a good engine, it’s going to be a great engine. These tests validated beyond question that we will meet and exceed the promises we have made to our customers in terms of fuel efficiency, reliability, and durability. ”
The engine "core" - comprised of the compressor, combustor, and high-pressure turbine - is the heart of any jet engine. It's where air is compressed and mixed with fuel to drive turbines, and create thrust. The fan system is attached to the core complete a jet engine. The eCore name is derived from the greater fuel EFFICIENCY it will achieve, the lower EMISSIONS it will create, and the decades of EXPERTISE that GE has brought to its design.
Overall, CFM complete approximately 525 hours of core testing. The heavily instrumented hardware records approximately 2,000 different engine parameters. The unique altitude test facility used allows CFM to put the hardware through its paces by simulating both ground and altitude conditions (up to 40,000 feet) over a much greater operating range than could be conducted with a full engine test. It allows engineers to see how the core behaves outside of standard operating conditions at extremes the engine would never encounter in typical commercial airline service.
eCore Demo 3, comprised of a 10-stage compressor, lower emission TAPS 2 combustor, and two-stage high-pressure turbine, is the configuration for the LEAP engine scheduled to enter service on the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and COMAC C919 in the 2016 / 2017 time frame.
A fourth build of the core is on schedule to begin testing in late 2014 as part of the ongoing technology development program.
The eCore Demonstrator program completed a battery of tests that focused on fuel performance; aerodynamics; acoustics; emissions; the aeromechanical properties of the blades and how they respond to vibration and natural frequencies; cooling; and operability to ensure the engine maintains the CFM reputation for stall-free operation.
LEAP engines are a product of CFM International is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE and the world’s largest supplier of commercial aircraft engines. To date, more than 25,000 CFM56 engines have been delivered to more than 500 operators around the globe. This fleet has achieved more than 635 million flight hours as the most reliable engines in the air.