The first COMAC C919, powered by the advanced LEAP-1C integrated propulsion system, today successfully completed a 79-minute first flight, marking the launch of the certification flight test program for the 150-passenger aircraft. The engines performed flawlessly.
“This is a great day for all of us,” said Wu Guanghui, vice president of COMAC. “We are very happy with the LEAP-1C engine and have been pleased to work with CFM on this program. The engines performed beautifully during today’s flight and we believe they will bring our customers the levels of fuel efficiency and reliability they will require in their daily operations.”
“This is an historic moment for CFM,” said Allen Paxson, general manager of CFM Project. “Congratulations and a big ‘thank you’ to the entire team. This day has been a long time coming and everyone involved has done a phenomenal job of keeping this project on track and delivering on the promises we made back in 2009 when the program was launched.”
The unique, fully-integrated propulsion system (IPS), which includes the LEAP-1C engine, the nacelle, and the thrust reverser, along with the pylon developed by COMAC, were designed in conjunction with each other, resulting in improved aircraft aerodynamics, lower weight, and easier maintenance.
The LEAP-1C’s composite O-duct thrust reverser was developed by Nexcelle, the 50/50 joint venture between GE’s Middle River Aircraft Systems and Safran Nacelles, with its unique one-piece configuration contributing to a reduced overall structural weight and larger acoustic treatment surface.
In addition to the IPS, the LEAP-1C engine features some of the industry’s most advanced technologies, including 3-D woven carbon fiber composite fan blades and fan case; a unique debris rejection system; fourth generation three dimensional aerodynamic designs; the Twin-Annular, Pre-Swirl (TAPS) combustor featuring additively manufactured fuel nozzles; ceramics matrix composite shrouds in the high-pressure turbine; and titanium aluminide (Ti-Al) blades in the low-pressure turbine.
CFM has received orders for more than 1,000 LEAP-1C integrated propulsion systems and the aircraft is expected to enter commercial service in the 2019 timeframe.