CFM International (Villaroche, France) reports that it delivered the first two production LEAP-1A engines to Airbus on April 2, two days ahead of schedule. This delivery of the composites-intensive engines paves the way for installation on the first customer aircraft and for entry into service by mid-year. The name of the initial LEAP/A320neo delivery customer will be disclosed at a later date.
The LEAP-1A flew for the first time on the Airbus A320neo in May 2015. A second A320neo was
added to the test program in September of last year and, in February 2016, the LEAP engine was the first to power the new A321neo. To date, the three aircraft have logged a combined total of more than 285 flights and more than 800 hours of flight testing.
The LEAP-1A, which powers the Airbus A319neo, A320neo, and the A321neo aircraft, features some of the industry’s most advanced technology, including 3-D woven carbon fiber composite fan blades and fan case (fabricated by Albany Engineered Composites); a unique debris rejection system; 4th generation three dimensional aerodynamic designs; the Twin-Annular, Pre-Swirl (TAPS) combustor featuring additively manufactured fuel nozzles; ceramic matrix composite shrouds in the high-pressure turbine; and titanium aluminide (Ti-Al) blades in the low-pressure turbine.
“It is a very proud day for us,” says Francois Bastin, executive vice president of CFM International. “The team has done an incredible job to keep this program on track. The engine continues to perform exceptionally well in flight tests and we can’t wait for our airline customers to introduce it into their fleets.”
“The next challenge is entry into service,” says Allen Paxson, executive vice president for CFM. “We have been working close with our customers on tooling and training and have been stress-testing our support infrastructure for several months. We expect the LEAP-1A commercial introduction to be one of the smoothest we have ever had.”
The engine will provide operators with double-digit improvements in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to today’s best CFM engine, along with dramatic reductions in engine noise and exhaust gaseous emissions.
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The project’s goal is to reduce product development and certification timelines by 30 percent for composite aircraft.