Every fourth year on February 29, people around the world get an extra day to keep our seasons and our calendar aligned. What better time than LEAP Day, which helps keep things running smoothly, to reflect on CFM International’s LEAP Program, which is delivering on all of its commitments? Also on LEAP Day, our parent company GE published its 2015 Annual Report. Check out the cover photo, which features the LEAP-1B!
The engine, which stands on the verge of entering commercial service later this year, is the fastest-selling engine in commercial aviation history, with more than 10,000 orders on the books nearly 100 customers worldwide.
“The LEAP development and flight test programs have been incredibly smooth, thanks to the preparation, hard work, and the experience of our team,” said Allen Paxson, executive vice president of CFM International. “The LEAP-1A, -1B, and -1C engines are each meeting or beating our performance specifications. They have operated in every imaginable environment and the engines have performed flawlessly.”
The LEAP-1A was certified in November 2015 and the final certification tests for the LEAP-1B are nearing completion. Overall, the entire program has logged nearly 9,000 hours and 20,000 cycles since the first engine went to test in September 2013. The LEAP-1A is scheduled to enter commercial service in mid-2016 on the Airbus A320neo; first deliveries of the LEAP-1B on the 737 MAX are scheduled to begin in 2017. The LEAP-1C is scheduled for first flight on the COMAC C919 in late 2016.
“The success of the LEAP program didn’t just happen,” said François Bastin, executive vice president of CFM International. “It is the result of years of planning and a meticulous process of testing and maturing individual technologies before we put them in the engine; we began component and rig tests four years before our first full engine test. It also comes from listening to our customers and understanding that reliability is not optional when your business model requires eight to 10 flights per day. They depend on the world-class reliability of their CFM56 fleets today and expect nothing less from their LEAP engines tomorrow.”
The advanced technology that makes up the LEAP engine family will result in a highly reliable, fuel-efficient powerplant for the new Airbus A320neo (new engine option), Boeing 737 MAX, and COMAC C919.
The engine incorporates many industry firsts, including the 3-D woven carbon fiber composite fan blade and case; the one-of-a-kind debris rejection system; fourth-generation 3-D aerodynamics; the first commercial use of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs); the revolutionary combustor design featuring fuel nozzles grown using additive manufacturing; and light-weight Titanium Aluminide airfoils.
The lower weight and higher durability these components provide will result in a 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, with an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions; a 50 percent margin to new emissions regulations; a dramatically lower noise signature; CFM’s industry-leading reliability and low overall operating costs.
With engine certifications, first flights and a planned entry into service, 2016 really does promise to be a LEAP year!