Odds and Ends: LEAP vs GTF; CSeries flight testing; MRJ FAL

LEAP vs GTF: Reuters has a story looking at the intense competition between CFM and Pratt & Whitney for the market dominance of the LEAP vs Geared Turbo Fan engines.

The only airplane where there is competition is on the Airbus A320neo family; CFM is exclusive on the Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC C919 and PW is exclusive on the Bombardier CSeries, Embraer E-Jet E2 and Mitsubishi MRJ. PW shares the platform of the Irkut MC-21 with a Russian engine. PW says it has sold more than 5,000 GTFs across the platforms. CFM has sold more than 6,000 across the three models it powers.

On the A320neo family, the competition is 50-50 at this point, with a large number of customers yet to decide on an engine choice. However, 60 A320neos (120 engines) ordered by lessor GECAS never were in contested (GECAS buys exclusively from CFM) and 80 A319/320neos from Republic Airways Holdings (160 engines) were part of a financial rescue package for then-ailing Frontier Airlines.

PW’s joint venture partner, International Aero Engines, shares the A320ceo family platform with CFM. Late to the market, IAE caught up to CFM in recent years.

On platforms where they compete, the sales figures so far show a neck-and-neck competition between CFM and PW.

Update, 12:30: The link has been fixed. Update, 9:30 am PST: Flight Global has this story reporting that PW plans a Performance Improvement Package on the GTF that will further cut fuel consumption by 3%.

CSeries flight testing: Bombardier’s CSeries flight testing has been slow to this point, but it’s beginning to ramp up. Aviation Week reports that FTV 3 should be in the air by the end of this month and FTV 4 should follow in April. FTV 3 is the avionics airplane and FTV 4 focuses on GTF engine testing.

Mitsubishi MRJ: Aviation Week also reports that the Mitsubishi MRJ airplane #1 is nearing final assembly.

12 Comments on “Odds and Ends: LEAP vs GTF; CSeries flight testing; MRJ FAL

  1. The LEAp drifts on the assumption it will be as sturdy as the CFM56. The entirely new designed, high temperatures and pressures used of the Leap don’t guarantee that at all IMO.

    The GTF drifts on the hope the gearbox will never overheat / fail right in front of the engine.

    It seems to me the LEAP technology (high pressures, 3D modelling, high temperatures, exotic materials, carbon fan), can be gradually be implemented on the GTF’s. Maybe RR will help. A PW1000 mk2, mk3 are already on the drawing boards.

    The GTF technology cannot be implemented on the Leap. And it isn’t easy making a GTF work. Ask PW and Airbus. They were going to introduce the GTF a decade ago. If they had had the gearbox ready then, A320 with large GTF’s entering service in 2005, we would have NSA’s by now too.

    (don’t forget to read this 1998 articles last paragraph 😮 ).

    IMO PW1100 80 inch powered A321’s will force GE/ Boeing to do a “757 replacement”

    • All the on the LEAP can in theory be implemented on the PW1000. The gearbox on the PW1000 is not as easy to implementera on the LEAP unless a totally new low pressure system is designed (the very advanced core can be retained of course).

      I fail to see hos the gearbox is high risk, every turboprop has one. The Honeywell (née Garett, née Lycoming) engine on the Avro RJ is a geared turbo fan, and it was designed when, 70’s? Challenges syre, but high risk no (when executed properly oc).

      The high temps in the LEAP might not be that high risk (temps have always been pushed and high relative the materials available at the time), but will definitely mean higher mx cost, which is a disadvantage relativt the PW offering.

      The PW1000 core is/was quite conservatively designed, there is much to be gained by pushing it (like they seem to start doing with this first PIP).

    • Although I guess the GTF offers a significant improvement in propulsive efficiency, isn’t it the case (perhaps an engine expert could clarify) that propulsive and transfer efficiencies are both well ahead of thermal efficiency in a jet engine? Since R&D spend is finite, maybe CFM’s focus on thermal efficiency is a wise spend long term, assuming they can keep maintenance requirements and emissions under control.

  2. If Boeing do a “757” replacement, I think it’ll be the first of the NSA family, which which will run from 737-800 to 757-300 in size. The big question will be whether they can find enough improvement in the airframe to force Airbus to replace the A320 family, rather than just react with an A322.

    • A problem building a 180-280 seat / 4000NM aircraft is that a majority of flights is 150 seats up to 1000NM. Not a majority, but a Vast majority. RR’s Nuttall tells:


      So if Boeing builds a medium sized aircraft surely it can dominate the medium segment. Airbus could build a dedicated very light and quiet 135-200 seater as a responds, selling 5x as many airframes.

      Being excellent around 150 seats/ 1000NM is way more important than 250 seats/ 3500NM, complicating a big NSA.

      • Yes, how many times have you pointed this out now? Let’s see, what airplanes were designed for 150 seats and 1500nm? Oh the 737-300 and the MD-80. There are two problems to your hypothesis: 1) With traffic growth and limited slots, SA’s will need to grow and they are probably more important than 380’s in slot limited airports. A new design has to be for the market 20 years from now. 2) Do airlines want one airplane for 1500nm missions and one for 3000+mile trips? I think A320 and 37NG answered that question as no. Why would B want to compete with a new design that the 320 and C-Series are competitive in?

        • There is no aircraft for sale 150 seats 1500nm. So airlines can’t buy it. See, no one buys it, so there’s no need..

  3. The GTF can match the LEAP without breaking a sweat. However, its interesting to note that (at least according to the article) the 3% improvement is not a back fit item.

    As for the 757, the vast majority of the original market for it is gone leaving nothing worth a new airframe. Unless there is a segment that is not being filled, in and of itself the original 757 market is no more (lopped off on the low end by the on going 737 and A320 improvements).

    One segment that is gone forever is the cargo. UPS can convert 757s and FedEx is and has excess stashed.

    When the 737 and A320 replacements come out (and let it be soon, particularly for the 737), inherently they will pick off the last of the 757 market as they will be lighter and more efficient giving them longer range without the “big wing syndrome”. They will probably be up-sized as the market keeps moving up as well (with C series taking over the remaining 150 seat segment0

    • “one segment that is gone forever is cargo. UPS can convert 757s and FedEx is and has excess stashed” :

      Transworld, you are putting forward a bulk-biased argument, the kind of self-scratching defense the users of bulk-loaded 757 or 739 come up with to explain why on earth they didn’t head-hunt a team of freight-coaching experts to reverse the diversion of valuable line freight business over to the parcel carriers on which thrive DHL, UPS and the likes ! “We fly differently” say A321 operators, carrying 10 AKH per each flight, whereof 4 or more full of line freight (NB : 6 or more freight-AKH per flight onboard H21QR). Multiply by 200 units doing 6 flights/24h each, day in day out … and 757 defenders’ll bite their nails ?!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *