CFM International has achieved joint certification of its CFM56-7BE Evolution engine, clearing the way for an incremental upgrade for the Boeing Next Generation 737 family.

The -7BE engine was granted US FAA and EASA certification on 30 July.

CFM completed 450h of testing on the updated engine, which included a 60h flight test certification campaign under the wing of General Electric's 747-100 flying testbed that began in May.

Additionally, 150h were dedicated to "triple redline" testing at Snecma's facilities in Vilaroche, France. Triple redline testing runs the engine to maximum fan speed, core speed and exhaust gas temperature, simulating "conditions far more extreme than would ever be experienced in commercial service to validate the reliability and durability of the hardware", says CFM.

The engine is scheduled to enter service in mid-2011, following airframe testing on a Continental Airlines 737 set to begin in the fourth quarter.

CFM aims to deliver a 1% improvement in fuel burn with its Evolution engine, along with up to a 4% reduction in maintenance costs driven by a 9% reduction of engine airfoils and improved airflow. The engine features a revised high pressure turbine guide vane diffuser, improved high pressure turbine blades, disc and a revised forward outer seal, along with improvements low pressure turbine blades, vanes, discs and case.

Coupled with aerodynamic refinements to the exterior of the 737, Boeing aims to deliver a total 2% improvement in fuel burn.

The fuel burn improvements are part of a continuing series of upgrades Boeing plans to introduce by 2011, which also include its new Sky Interior, drawing from design elements first conceived for the 787. As of late June, Boeing says the interior has been selected by 37 customers to date, and will enter service at the end of 2010 with flyDubai.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news