- The CFM56-7-powered Boeing Next-Generation 737-900 is set to begin flight testing in preparation for aircraft/engine certification in March 2001.
The CFM56-7 is the exclusive powerplant for Boeing Next-Generation 737-600/-700/-800/-900 aircraft and the Boeing Business Jet. The engine is produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma Moteurs (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
First flight is scheduled for August 2000. Following a 381-hour flight test program and certification, Alaska Airlines will take delivery of the first aircraft in April 2001. In addition to Alaska, Continental, KLM, and Korean Air are 737-900 launch customers and will each take delivery of 737-900s in 2001, as well. These four airlines have placed a combined total of 45 firm, 28 option 737-900 orders. The 737-900, the longest Next-Generation 737, is capable of carrying 177 to 189 passengers and has a range of approximately 2,745 nautical miles.
The CFM56-7 was developed to provide Next-Generation 737 operators with higher thrust, improved efficiency, and lower maintenance costs than its predecessor, the CFM56-3. After two and a half years of revenue service, the CFM56-7 is delivering on that promise while providing industry-leading reliability.
The CFM56-7, rated from 18,500 to 27,300 pounds takeoff thrust, has logged more than 3.6 million flight hours and 1.9 million cycles while maintaining a 99.93 percent dispatch reliability rate. In addition, the CFM56-7 has a .012 shop visit rate and a .004 in-flight shutdown rate, which is one of the best in the industry. The CFM56-7 has been able to achieve these outstanding rates in very demanding circumstances. For example, Southwest 737s, which have the highest utilization rate of the fleet, accumulate an average of 13 flights per day.
This reliability made the CFM56-7-powered 737 the first aircraft in its class to be granted 180-minute Extended-Range, Twin-Engine Operations (ETOPS) approval by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. ETOPS is defined as the number of minutes flying time from a suitable airport that a twin-engine aircraft may operate in the event that one engine becomes inoperable. The approval gives operating airlines far greater route-scheduling flexibility.
The benefits of the CFM56-7-powered 737 are being applied to military customers as well. The U.S. Navy has selected a CFM56-7-powered 737 variant, designated the C-40, for its Unique Fleet Essential Airlift Replacement Aircraft program. The Navy has ordered five aircraft to date to replace its fleet of C-9 airlifters, and deliveries are set to begin in early 2001. The aircraft is currently undergoing flight tests at Boeing Field in Seattle.
In addition, the Australian Defense Force (ADF) launched the CFM56-7 on the Boeing 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft with an order for seven aircraft and will begin taking delivery in 2004/2005. Like the C-40, the AEW&C is a derivative of the 737-700 IGW (increased gross weight) aircraft, which is designed to operate at heavier weights to carry more fuel for greater range. The CFM56-7 is rated at 27,300 pounds takeoff thrust for both these applications.