New engines planned by Rolls-Royce (R-R) reflect recent powerplant trends, including steadily increasing propulsive efficiency obtained with larger-diameter fans, higher bypass ratios and smaller engine cores. The engines could power updated contemporary widebody platforms, with R-R civil large engines president Eric Schulz confirming “very live” discussions with Airbus. “If it decides to re-engine the A330 or A380, we will be here to provide support,” he said during a pre-show briefing.
CFM International CFM56
The technology stakes are high for the GE9X engine that will power Boeing’s new 777X twinjet, but GE Aviation believes its big bet on the weight savings to be delivered by unprecedented use of composites is about to pay off. The U.S. engine maker, which currently holds orders for some 600 of the engines, is leaving nothing to chance and, with more than two years of technology maturation behind it, the company is now stepping up its test program en route to certification in 2018.
What turned out to be a big week for Boeing with the formal launch of its new 777X widebody also promises to be a big week for the engine that will power it, the GE9X. Dubai Airshow visitors can get a sneak preview of the 102,000-pound thrust turbofan through a new 3-D representation of the equipment at the GE Aviation exhibit (Chalet A9).
In May this year the French-U.S. joint venture CFM International delivered the 25,000th example of its CFM56 turbofan, which powers Boeing Next-Generation 737s and the Airbus single-aisle family. Last month the 10,000th CFM56-7B for the 737 family was delivered, while next month deliveries of CFM56-5s for Airbus will pass 8,500. As well as these two influential single-aisle aircraft lines, the CFM56 also powers the Airbus A340-200/300.
GE Aviation started testing its new fourth-generation composite fan blades for the new GE9X turbofan, the company announced last week. Chosen to power the new Boeing 777X, the 100,000-pound-thrust-class engine promises a 10-percent fuel burn improvement over the GE90-115B–the engine that powers the Boeing 777-300ER.
CFM International, the General Electric/Snecma joint venture, expects to begin a second phase of ground testing for its 3-D woven resin transfer molding fan with its Moteur à Aubes de Soufflante en Composite Taille (Mascot) 2 fan-demonstrator engine. The fan is “foundational technology” for the CFM Leap engine that is scheduled to enter service in 2016.
Boeing’s confirmation in March that GE Aviation will provide the new GE9X engine to power its proposed 777X development marked the culmination of three years of preliminary work between the engine maker and the airframer in their quest to be in a position to promise a 10 percent reduction in fuel burn compared with the GE90-115B engines on the existing 777-300ER. Also promised is a 5 percent improvement in specific fuel consumption over rival widebody engines by 2020.
Airbus has raised its sales target for 2013 to 700 airliners after surpassing its target of 650 for last year with gross orders for 914 airplanes and a net order count of 833 after cancellations. But the European airframer has acknowledged that it is especially eager to get sales of its A380 widebody back on track after logging orders for only nine of the superjumbos in 2012.
Boeing Business Jet operators now have another option for CFM56-7B engine maintenance, repair and overhaul. Associated Air Center (AAC), StandardAero’s large transport-category completions center in Dallas, now offers CFM56-7B service through StandardAero’s engine overhaul facility in Winnipeg, Canada.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued certification of Airbus’s Sharklet wingtip device for CFM-powered A320 family narrowbodies, the manufacturer announced Monday. Airbus said it expects the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to issue its own approval “very soon.”
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