CFM International’s LEAP-1A engines powering the Airbus A320neo have taken flight for the first time.
The first A320neo flight equipped with a pair of LEAP-1A engines, operated by F-WNEW, took off from Toulouse Airport on May 19, Airbus said in a statement.
During the four hour and 25 minute flight, experimental test pilots Philippe Perrin and Malcolm Ridley took F-WNEW to a maximum altitude of 39,000ft, conducted tests on engine speed variation and did system checks. Also on board were flight engineers Jean-Michel Pin, Tuan Do and Philippe Pupin.
CFM International said the engines performed “extremely well throughout the flight envelope”.
“With each day, our confidence grows that the LEAP engine will deliver the performance, reliability, and cost of ownership we have committed to our customers from day one,” CFM International chief executive Jean-Paul Ebanga said.
The A320neo made its first flight on September 25 2014 with PW1100G geared turbofan engines from Pratt & Whitney. Airbus said the A320neo flight test program had accumulated about 400 flight hours from 130 flights so far.
Entry-into-service for A320neos fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines was forecast to occur by the fourth quarter of 2015, while the LEAP-1A was due to begin commercial service in 2016.
CFM International said there were 30 LEAP engines across all three models of the A320neo family on test or in final assembly, with 3,600 certification test hours and 5,460 test cycles accumulated so far.
“CFM is on track for joint US Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency certification to support the aircraft entry into service,” CFM said in a statement.
“Nearly 60 per cent of the required engine certification reports have been submitted and approved to date.”
Airbus’s head of the A320 programme Klaus Roewe said the LEAP-1A test flight was an important step forward in the development of the aircraft.
“With the second NEO engine now taking to the skies, we are progressing well towards fulfilling our objective to offer our customers an engine choice for a product at the cutting edge of competitiveness,” Roewe said.
Meanwhile, Airbus has launched two new corporate jet versions of its A320neo family of aircraft – unveiling the ACJ319neo and ACJ320neo – with Farnborough-based European charter company Acropolis Aviation the launch customer.
Acropolis chief executive Jonathan Bousfield announced the order for one ACJ320neo alongside Airbus chief operating officer for customers and Airbus Corporate Jets managing director Benoit Defforge at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva on May 19.
The ACJ319neo is capable of flying up to eight passengers 12,500 km, while the ACJ320neo is designed to carry up to 25 passengers 11,100 km, Airbus said in a statement.
Both the CFM International LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G engines will be available for the ACJ319neo and ACJ320neo.
Acropolis said entry into service for the ACJ320neo, which will be fitted with 19 seats in a VVIP setting, was planned for early 2020. The new aircraft will replace the company’s ACJ319 G-NOAH, which will be available for sale in late 2018.
“Our ACJ319 with its 10-hour non-stop range is extremely popular in the high-end charter market, especially in the Middle East, USA and Europe,” Bousfield said in a statement.
“With the new aircraft we will gain an improved range of 6,000nm/11,100km, which means clients can fly from London to Los Angeles, Johannesburg or Tokyo direct and London to Sydney with one refuelling stop.”