On 19 May, and less than eight months after its first flight with Pratt & Whitney engines, an A320neo conducted its first flight with a new engine developed by CFM International. LEAP turbofan engines will soon equip the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737MAX and Comac C919, thus becoming a real technological successor to the CFM56, the best-selling engine in the history of civil aviation.
François Bastin, Director of CFM programmes - Snecma (Safran Group) : « The first difference is the fan diameter. The first stage of compression is wider, allowing highly significant fuel savings and noise reductions. The second difference is a technological revolution that concerns the engine itself, notably through the introduction of new materials. »
The 3D woven composite fibre fabrics on the fan blades and housing, ceramic matrix composites on the hot parts inside the high pressure turbine, and new metal alloys on the low pressure turbine at the rear of the engine give the LEAP a 15% reduction in fuel consumption compared to current engines.
Jean-Paul Ebanga, CEO - CFM International : « This is a good born baby, we've been very pleased by the initial results in our facilities, and we expect very smooth test programme. So we look forward for this test programme completion, and of course entry into the next service year. »
The LEAP turbofan engine flight test programme is being conducted simultaneously in the US and France by Boeing and Airbus. To date, more than 8,900 LEAP engines have been ordered. A commercial success representing eight years’ production for CFM International.