At a special ceremony, CFM International and the Strategic Communications Wing 1 of the United States Navy celebrated a new military aviation time on wing record achieved by a CFM56-2A engine that logged 19,655 hours powering an E-6B aircraft before its first removal.
"I'm not sure if the original developers of this engine knew how many years of service their creation would yield," said Rear Admiral Mark Skinner, program executive officer of Tactical Aircraft Programs-Navy. "But I do know that this piece of stellar engineering coupled with a solid maintenance program by outstanding maintenance technicians... has resulted in this engine serving the fleet for the last 20 years."
The previous time on wing record for a military engine prior to removal was 15,000 hours. This record was set by this same engine in 2003. In addition to the record-setting engine, 10 additional engines in this fleet have reached 14,000 hours without a shop visit, and a total of 24 engines have surpassed the 10,000-hour milestone without a single removal.
"The time on wing and reliability achieved are testaments to the excellent job accomplished by all those men and women of the Navy who deal with the engines, the crews who fly them, the mechanics who maintain them, and the program office in charge of managing all the support," said Eric Bachelet, president and CEO of CFM.
To put this achievement into layman's terms, imagine driving the same car for more than 500 years with nothing more than oil changes and new spark plugs. The engine's 19,655 hours on wing equates to more than six million miles traveled, enough to circumnavigate the earth more than 250 times.
CFM56-2 engines are a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of Snecma (Safran Group) and General Electric Company. For military applications, the CFM56-2 has provided outstanding benefits to its customers, including: lower fuel burn for longer range, increased time on station, and increased payload; dramatically improved reliability; lower noise and emissions levels; and reduced field-length takeoff and/or higher gross weight operation from high, hot airfields.