CFM LEAP flies on GE testbed

CFM International's LEAP engine has begun flight testing on a modified Boeing 747 flying testbed at GE Aviation Flight Test Operations in Victorville, California.

The company reported that the engine behaved well and completed multiple aeromechnical test points at various altitudes during the nearly three-hour first flight. “Over the next several weeks, the engine will complete a comprehensive test schedule that will gauge engine operability, stall margin, performance, and acoustics. The LEAP-1A/-1C variants are on track for engine certification in 2015,” CFM stated.

"The LEAP engine behaved like a real veteran as we took it through its aerodynamic clearance points," remarked chief test pilot Steven Crane. "The durability and reliability one expects from a CFM product is clearly there."

The LEAP engine family is undergoing the most extensive ground and flight test certification programme in CFM’s history. The total programme, which encompasses all three LEAP engine variants, includes 28 ground and CFM flight test engines, along with a total of 32 flight test engines for Airbus, Boeing, and COMAC.

Although all three LEAP engine variants will fly on the modified testbed, the configuration currently being tested is a fully integrated propulsion system (IPS). CFM claims the IPS as an industry first and unique to the LEAP-1C, with the company providing the engine as well as the nacelle and thrust reverser developed by Nexcelle. These elements, including the pylon provided by COMAC, were designed in conjunction with each other, resulting in a total system created to provide improved aerodynamics, lower weight, and easier maintenance.

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