Certification of CFM International's advanced new CFM56-7BE engine is progressing on schedule. The engine is currently undergoing a 150-hour block test, paving the way for the flight test program early this year.
A block test, which is a certification requirement, is one of the most grueling to which an engine can be subjected. The engine is 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 been 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, and engine operation and performance was as expected. In the second quarter of this year, the 7BE configuration will begin a 50-hour flight test program on GE's flying testbed in Victorville, California.
Engine certification is on schedule formid-2010, paving the way for flight tests on the Next-Generation 737 planned for early in 2011, followed by aircraft certification and entry into service in mid-2011.
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.
The CFM56-7BE engine enhancement program, which CFM International (CFM) launched earlier this year, is scheduled to enter airline service in mid-2011 to coincide with Boeing Next-Generation 737 airframe improvements.
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 General Electric Company. CFM is the world's leading manufacturing of commercial aircraft engines and has producedmore than20,250 engines to date.