CFM International will increase its LEAP test fleet to 20 engines by the end of 2014, as the manufacturer plans to reach 42,000 cycles during the powerplant’s test programme by service-entry in 2016.
The General Electric and Snecma partnership started ground test runs for the first LEAP-1A – which has been designed for the Airbus A320neo – on 4 September, with the engine accumulating 309 hours over approximately 400 cycles.
Five engines should be running as part of the test programme by June, with another 15 to be added by the end of 2014, says CFM.
The first engine has been performing “within a tenth of a percent” of the targets for the test run, says Chaker Chahrour, executive vice-president. “I feel a lot more comfortable where the LEAP is today than where the [GE90-] 115B was [at the equivalent stage of its test programme]”, he says.
High-pressure turbine components for the LEAP engine have been tested on two GEnx ground test engines. This comprises first-stage HPT blades and a ceramic shroud. The parts have been manufactured with GEnx dimensions, but reflect LEAP technology.
Some 1,700 cycles have so far been accumulated, with the total number aimed to reach 6,000 cycles.
CFM expects the LEAP to have a 1% lead in specific fuel consumption over the rival Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan when the engine enters service, says Chahrour.
An additional 1% advantage will come into play on “longer” range mission, while the LEAP’s performance should also have a 1% lead in terms of performance deterioration over the engine’s life, he adds.