Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) and CFM International announced yesterday (May 7) that they successfully initiated flight testing of the LEAP-1B* engine on April 29 on a modified ex-Pan Am Boeing 747-100 (see below) flying testbed at GE Aviation Flight Test Operations in Victorville, California.
According to Boeing, “The testing is the next major milestone in a two-year program that will culminate in engine certification in 2016 and delivery of the first Boeing 737 MAX in 2017. The engine performed well and completed multiple aeromechanical test points at various altitudes during the five hour, 30 minute first flight.”
Above photo: CFM International.
The LEAP-1B engine (above) is the exclusive powerplant for the Boeing 737 MAX family and is part of the most extensive ground and flight test certification program in CFM’s history. The first LEAP-1B engine began ground testing on June 13, 2014, three days ahead of the schedule set when the program was launched in 2011.
Over the next several weeks, the flight test program will encompass a comprehensive test schedule that will gauge engine operability, stall margin, performance, emissions and acoustics. It also will further validate the advanced technologies incorporated in the engine, including the woven carbon fiber composite fan, the Twin-Annular, Pre-Mixing Swirler (TAPS) combustor, ceramic matrix composite shrouds in the high-pressure turbine and titanium aluminide blades in the low-pressure turbine.
To date, the 737 MAX has accumulated 2,724 orders from 57 customers worldwide.
* The LEAP-1B is a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE.
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Bottom photo: Boeing. The test airframe is the pictured GE Aircraft Engines Boeing 747-121 N747GE (msn 19651) seen departing from Victorville with the test engine. The historic Jumbo was originally delivered to Pan Am as N744PA on June 21, 1972.