CFM International's CFM56 fleet has become the first high bypass turbofan family in history to achieve 500 million engine flight hours in service as the company celebrates its 36 anniversary.
The first CFM56 engines entered service in1982 powering re-engined DC-8 Super 70 aircraft and USAF KC-135 tankers. The engine provided a quantum leap to this industry segment in terms of fuel burn, noise and emissions levels. These early applications were followed by a succession of new aircraft applications, including the Boeing 737 Classic, the Airbus A320 and A340 families, and the Boeing 737NG.
CFM International was formed as a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran group) and GE on September 24, 1974. In 2008, the two parent companies extended the partnership agreement to the year 2040. Through August 2010, CFM has received firm orders for a total of 26,500 engines.
Since the CFM56 first entered service in 1982, CFM International has delivered more than 21,000 engines to 500-plus operators around the globe. The fleet is logging one million flight hours every eight days and, at any given moment, there are more than 2,400 CFM56-powered aircraft in the air.
One of the distinguishing features of the CFM56 product line is its unrivaled reliability, which has served as the industry benchmark for more than 20 years. The average time on wing for current production CFM56 engines before a first shop visit is approximately 30,000 hours with the fleet records at 44000 hours. That equates to driving a car the distance to the moon and back 30 times without ever putting it in the garage for service. Or driving the same car for 1,000 years--the time it would take to log 15 million miles and circle the earth 367 times--with nothing more than oil changes and new spark plugs.
"We are obviously very proud of reaching half a billion flight hours, but we know we could never have achieved this milestone without the continued confidence of our customers around the world," said Eric Bachelet, president and CEO of CFM International (CFM). "From the beginning, the CFM model has been to meet all of its commitments, to continually invest in the product line, and to provide world-class customer and product support. It is a model that has enabled the CFM56 product line to become the industry benchmark for reliability and low cost of ownership, and it is the same model we are using for the future as we continue to expand the current CFM56 fleet and develop the LEAP-X engine for future generations of single-aisle aircraft."