Feb. 29, 2016, (c) Leeham Co.: The LEAP engine, for the Boeing 737 MAX, Airbus A320neo and COMAC C919 is the fastest-selling engine in history, says Jean-Paul Ebanga, the president of CFM International. More than 10,000 have been sold.
“It’s on-time and on-spec,” Ebanga said. It’s either been on the date set four years ago or ahead of schedule. The engines delivered to Airbus for the A320neo are on spec, he said. It’s been certified for the neo and will be certified soon for the MAX, with 90% of the information submitted.
There have been “zero disruption, zero snag and zero out-station removal” for both the A320neo and MAX programs since the first flight in May 2015, Ebanga said.
What’s next? “It’s delivering all those airplanes to market,” he said. There was a record number of CFM56 delivered last year and another record will be delivered this year. About 2,000 engines a year will be delivered in 2019.
“We are running the most comprehensive readiness plan ever to be ready to deliver all those numbers,” he said.
Bill Brown, Commercial Engines Marketing Director for GE Aviation, said that GE and CFM will introduce eight new engines in five years, ranging from the A320neo to the Boeing 777X.
A lot of the work done for these engines have their roots in fundamental technologies from the 1980s. Research on carbon fiber materials, low NOx technology and others are showing up in benefits today. Ceramic Composites are the next big leap in technology, Brown said.
“LEAP has been the most successful flight test program in the history of GE Aviation,” said Brown.
The GE9X is 20% more efficient on the compressors than previous ones. Ceramic shrouds, nozzles and potentially have application to other critical parts in the future.
“We can’t know what aircraft will be next, but whatever it is, it won’t surprise us,” because of continued research and investment in a variety of technologies, Brown says.
Pratt & Whitney
PW had a busy year last year, with the certification of the GTF-powered A320neo, mating the smaller version with the Embraer E190-E2, a first flight with yet another version of the Mitsubishi MRJ90 and flight testing beginning of the Irkut MC-21 GTF model.
The V2500 engine will be in production for a long time, says Rick Deurloo, SVP Sales, Marketing and customer support. The Embraer KC-390 uses this engine and the airplane is currently in flight testing. (Embraer is embarking on a world wide sales campaign for the airplane.)
PW has 7,000 orders in backlog across five platforms for more than 70 customers.
This year the Bombardier CSeries enters service and the first flight for the EJet-E2 program.
“Our investment in technology…is having a very real effect on our services,” says Simon Goodson, SVP Lessor Customers. More than 90% of Trent engines today are under the Total Care maintenance program.
As engines age to 12-15 years, “we have to have a plan for it,” Goodson says. Additional shops are being opened in the US, three in the Middle East and another in the Far East.
The transitions from older engines are increasing from 25 to as many as 80 each year, within five years. “It’s critical that we transition these more quickly.
Ebanga said CFM took the CFM56 as the reference point to design the LEAP to be better and keep performance on the wing longer than the CFM56. (The CFM56 already has the longest time on wing of any engine.)
He said the front end of the LEAP, which is full carbon, includes “maintenance-free” fan blades. “We are providing value for our customers” by providing an engine that is less prone to foreign object damage.
Deurloo said the GTF is designed to be better than the V2500. He said the geared architecture likewise brings value to the customer, with lower maintenance costs.
Brown said maintenance and MRO providers have to learn how to maintain the new technologies that need high-tech repair capabilities.
Brown noted that the time on wing gains has outpaced the increase in pricing of LLPs. “every upgrade in a GE (CFM) engine has an increase in time on wing component.
“We think the customers are getting a good deal” in durability vs pricing.
Goodson said, “I’m not aware of anybody in the industry who isn’t under pressure to reduce costs,” adding that the OEMs have to recoup costs.