With a single bottle of French champagne and a note of thanks from the entire production team, CFM International shipped the last production CFM56-3 engine to Boeing for installation on the final Classic 737.
Boeing rolled out the final CFM56-3-powered 737 last week during a ceremony at its Renton, Washington, facility. The aircraft, a 737-400, will be delivered to CSA Czech Airlines in February 2,000.
CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States, became the world's largest supplier of commercial aircraft engines due largely to the success of this program. In 1981, Boeing selected the fledgling engine company to provide the sole powerplant for its 737-300/-400/-500 series of aircraft. At the time, both companies optimistically predicted they would sell about 400 airplanes; 3,975 engines and 1,987 airplanes later, the CFM-3-powered 737 is a story for the record books.
The CFM56-3-powered 737 fleet in service has logged more than 88 million flight hours and 63 million cycles since the first airplanes were delivered to Southwest Airlines and U.S. Airways in 1984. During this time, the CFM56-3 has consistently raised the standards for engine dependability and reliability. The fleet has a 99.98 percent dispatch reliability rate, which translates to less than one departure per 2,000 being delayed or cancelled for engine related issues. The engine also maintains a .003 in-flight shutdown rate or one event every 333,333 flight hours; this aircraft logs between 2,500 to 3,500 flight hours per year. Despite having one of the highest daily utilization rates in the industry, the CFM56-3 continues to set records for time on wing. There is currently a CFM56-3 engine in service that has logged more than 31,700 hours on wing with nothing more than routine maintenance. On average, CFM56-3 engines stay on wing about 14,000 hours before requiring an initial shop visit.
Although CFM has shipped the final installed engine, the company will continue to produce between 20 and 30 spare engines per year for the next several years.