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  • Joe Breitfeller

Airbus and CFM International Launch Open Fan Architecture Test Flight Demonstrator

Airbus and CFM are collaborating to flight test CFM’s cutting edge open fan architecture. The Flight Test Demonstrator will accelerate the development of advanced propulsion designs, as part of CFM’s Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engine (RISE) program.

Airbus and CFM to Launch A380 Flight Test Demonstrator for Advanced Open Fan Architecture - Courtesy Airbus

On Tuesday (July 19, 2022), Airbus announced that they are collaborating with CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines, to flight test CFM’s cutting-edge open fan engine architecture. The Flight Test Demonstrator, an Airbus A380, will help mature and accelerate the development of advanced propulsion technologies, as part of CFM’s Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engine (RISE) demonstration program. The flight testing will be performed in the second half of this decade from the Airbus Flight Test facility in Toulouse, France. Prior to the flights, CFM will perform engine ground tests, along with flight test validation at GE Aviation’s Flight Test Operations center in Victorville, California.

In today’s announcment, Airbus’ Chief Technical Officer, Sabine Klauke, said,

“New propulsion technologies will play an important role in achieving aviation's net-zero objectives, along with new aircraft designs and sustainable energy sources. By evaluating, maturing and validating open fan engine architecture using a dedicated flight test demonstrator, we are collaboratively making yet another significant contribution to the advancement of technology bricks that will enable us to reach our industry-wide decarbonisation targets.”

CFM International’s President and CEO, Gaël Méheust, added,

“The CFM RISE Program is all about pushing the technology envelope, redefining the art of the possible, and helping to achieve more sustainable long-term growth for our industry. CFM, its parent companies, and Airbus all share the same vision and commitment for the future; the open fan flight test demonstration programme is an exciting next step toward achieving the industry’s net-zero goals.”

Some of the objectives of the flight test program include enhancing the understanding of engine/wing integration and aerodynamic performance, as well as propulsive system efficiency gains. Additionally, the program will validate performance benefits such as better fuel efficiency and a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, compared to today’s most efficient engines. The program will also evaluate acoustic models and ensure engine compatibility with 100 percent SAF. The collaboration with CFM complements Airbus’ existing work being carried out evaluate concepts and mature technologies for Airbus’ zero-emission ambition. The new collaboration follows a joint flight test program between the companies announced in February 2022 to validate hydrogen propulsion capability.

Source: Airbus