Posted on: 18 June 2014 by Mark Howells
CFM International has initiated ground testing of the first LEAP-1B engine, the start of a two-year programme that will culminate in engine certification in 2016 and entry into commercial service on the Boeing 737 MAX in 2017.
The LEAP-1B, which is the exclusive powerplant for the 737 MAX family, fired for the first time on 13 June at Snecma (Safran) facilities in Villaroche, France, three days ahead of the schedule set when the programme was launched in 2011. After a series of break-in runs, the engine has been operating smoothly and has reached full take-off thrust.
“We are really excited to have this engine on test. Now that we are running at full power, we can really see what it is capable of,” observed Cédric Goubet, executive vice-president for CFM. “All of the testing we have done to date has validated the technology choices we made and we look forward to the LEAP-1B expanding our knowledge base. Our team has done a fantastic job of keeping this programme on schedule and, with each day, our confidence grows. The LEAP engine will deliver everything we have promised and more.”
The engine will be on test for the next several weeks, during which time CFM will verify its mechanical operation, its operability (stall margin), engine starts, and further validate the advanced technologies incorporated in the engine.
“The LEAP engine is a really exceptional motor; we are thrilled with everything we are seeing,” added Allen Paxson, CFM executive vice-president. “The reason we chose such an aggressive maturation and certification schedule is to wring out any issues and solve them long before the engine ever enters a customer fleet. What the plan has also done is validate our philosophy of extensive component and rig tests well in advance of full engine testing. We had thousands of hours under our belt before we ever assembled the first engine. This engine is right where we want it to be.”