GE has reported the first regular flight of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, an aircraft which is powered by two CFM International LEAP-1B engines. The LEAP engines are the first to be built with additively manufactured fuel nozzles. According to GE Reports, fuel nozzles made this way can be manufactured in a single, complex piece instead of requiring assembly. This makes them lighter and more durable, helping to improve the aircraft’s fuel burn.
“These new aircraft offer lower operating costs with better fuel efficiency due to its new LEAP-1B engines, and aerodynamic improvements will allow us to go to farther destinations,” explained Chandran Rama Muthy, the CEO of Malindo Air, a carrier that has ordered eight 737 MAX 8s so far.
LEAP engines were developed by engineers with CFM International, a joint venture between GE Aviation and France’s Safran Aircraft Engines, and have been in operation since 2008. Altogether, GE states that LEAP-1B engines are providing 15% lower fuel consumption compared with the CFM56-7B engines operating on today’s global 737 fleet. CFM report that this leads to “dramatic reductions” in engine noise and emissions of CO2 and other exhaust gasses.
With a running tally of 12,230 orders valued around $170 billion (US list price), the LEAP is the bestselling engine in GE Aviation’s history. The A320neo Airbus passenger jet, powered by twin LEAP jet engines with AM fuel nozzles, completed its maiden flight in May 2015.