Testing progresses on CFM56-7BE

Washington DC
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CFM international is in the midst of a 150h block test for the latest variant of the CFM engine - the CFM56-7BE .

The engine is part of a package of improvements Boeing unveiled last year for the Next Generation 737 that also includes aerodynamic improvements and a new interior.

As part of the certification process for the engine, block tests are conducted that require the engine to run at triple redline - maximum fan and core speeds and maximum exhaust gas temperature. The tests simulate conditions far more extreme than will ever be experienced in commercial service to validate hardware reliability and durability.

CFM says the first full CFM56-7BE type design engine completed ground tests in January, and in the second quarter the -7BE will begin a 50h flight test programme on the GE flying testbed in Victorville, California.

CFM expects engine certification in mid-2010, followed by flight tests on the 737 in early 2011. Aircraft certification and entry-into-service are also scheduled for 2011.

The CFM56-7BE engine has 9% fewer aerofoils as well as reshaped blades and vanes in the high- and low-pressure turbines to increase airflow through the engine and reduce operating temperatures.

Combined with Boeing-designed modifications to the engine nozzle and plug, the engine will deliver 1% improvement in specific fuel consumption and 4% less maintenance costs. For the airframe in total, Boeing is advertising a 2% decrease in fuel consumption.

ATI's sister publication Flight International reported in December of 2009 that CFM was also studying an upgraded engine for the A320 family based on the -7BE's development.