We’ve recently tagged a few items “a story that won’t die.” Here is another one, the continuing analysis of the Pratt &
Whitney GTF for the Boeing 737 MAX.
Although Boeing’s Lauren Penning told The Puget Sound Business Journal there isn’t a “team” at Boeing working on this prospect, reports out of Aspire Aviation (now Orient Insight), Aeroturbopower, Airline Economics and last month’s ISTAT meeting continue to create buzz on this topic. The AirInsight piece was published in limited circulation two weeks ago.
There has been a great deal of debate over whether Boeing can meet the SFC reduction targets for its 737 MAX. This debate revolves in part because neither Boeing or CFM have been forthcoming about details how the CFM LEAP engine is being optimized for MAX.
We’ve obtained some details to explain how CFM is proceeding.
Details are still sketchy and hard to come by. But our source has direct knowledge of the program.
Our source compared the requirement to reduce the fan size of the 737 LEAP from 78 inches on the Airbus A320 neo to 68 1/2 inches on the MAX to the fan reduction on the GEnx from the 787 to the 747-8. The 747-8 engines are optimized for this aircraft despite the smaller fan size.
Reducing the fan enables CFM to eliminate some LPT stages, our source explains, which also cuts other parts.
This eliminations allow the LEAP to be shorter, which also allows the engine mounting to be shorter.
CFM is also using ceramics to the MAX LEAP.
These are some of the key ways CFM is optimizing LEAP for MAX.
Here is an article we did yesterday for Flightglobal Pro’s subscription service.
The Southwest Airlines order on 13 December launching the 737 Max programme is a launch of the -8 version. The carrier, which has substitution rights between the -7 and the -8, has chosen to bypass the -7 for now.
Brian Hirshman, SVP Technical Operations, told Flightglobal Pro on 15 December that the carrier is up-gauging its fleet, which it began doing this year with acquisition of the 737-800 for the first time. Southwest, throughout its history since is 1971 birth, has relied on the 737-200/300/500/700, preferring smaller sized aircraft and high frequency as its business model.
During yesterday’s tele-press conference by Boeing with a program update for the 737 MAX, 737 chief program engineer John Hamilton frequently said the MAX has a 7% operating cost advantage over the A320neo.
He also touted the advantages of the 737-900ER over the A321, with the obvious implications that the 737-9 MAX will have an advantage over the A321neo.
Here is a recap by the Puget Sound Business Journal (there are many others which may be found through Google News).
AirInsight, our affiliate, has written several pieces of the 737NG and 737 MAX vs the A320 family, both legacy and NEO.
See the following articles for additional color on this debate.