Certification of the LEAP-1B: "a well-designed engine"
On 4 May, CFM International received dual EASA-FAA certification for its new generation LEAP-1B engine, which will enter into service on the Boeing 737 MAX in 2017. Less than six months following the LEAP-1A certification, CFM is once again up to the mark. Sébastien Imbourg, Snecma's LEAP Program Director, explains the reasons for this success and touches upon the next steps.
Certification of the LEAP-1B is a major new step for CFM International, any thoughts?
Sébastien Imbourg: "Indeed, such a well-managed certification process shows the total excellence of the whole LEAP family and CFM products in general. The LEAP-1B engine is the second version to be certified after the LEAP-1A last November, and the LEAP-1C should be granted certification by the end of the year. This certification is a major step which shows once again that Snecma and CFM perform well when it matters most. In the case of the B737 MAX development schedule, for which we are the only engine manufacturer, we have upheld again our commitments.”
At the same time, Boeing is continuing its flight test campaign with the LEAP-1B. What is the initial feedback on the engine's in-flight behavior?
"We are carrying out a very intense testing campaign with ten or so flights per week on the 737 MAX. The engine is meeting expectations perfectly, and is showing genuine technological maturity and robustness in keeping with CFM's reputation. Boeing's teams and in particular the test pilots, who are working with us in a completely transparent environment, have great confidence in our engine, whatever regardless of how long and in what conditions it is tested. The LEAP is thus a well-designed engine which flies well: all the conditions have come together to make the LEAP a success from the moment it enters service and for the next 20 years!”
What are the next steps?
"We have two major goals. The first is to ensure the LEAP-1A successfully enters service which is expected to happen in July 2016 followed by the LEAP-1B in 2017. From the birth of the B737 MAX development program, Boeing wanted to implement operational simulations with CFM well in advance of the entry into service. Our teams are working in particular on the maintenance procedures, training airlines' technical teams and providing spare parts. The second objective is to successfully ramp up production. We must provide the first engines to the Boeing assembly line in September. To meet the challenge of this unprecedented ramp up, with 2,000 engines to produce by 2020, we are developing two new assembly lines at the forefront of innovation. The first will be operational by early 2017.”
- Over 100 flights have been carried out since the start of the B737 MAX test program