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Boeing has completed broad definition of the
737 MAX, the planned, re-engined development
of its best single-aisle aircraft family.
The major 'Firm Concept' milestone was
reached late last year, as the manufacturer
finished "defining the significant changes
needed to deliver the performance we've
committed to our customers," according to
737 programme Vice-President and General
Manager Beverly Wyse, who says Boeing
has in place plans to incorporate necessary
changes to produce a 13 percent reduction in
fuel consumption, relative to current variants.
Among primary "fuel-use reduction"
changes are a redesigned tail cone and
Boeing's "advanced technology" winglets, as
well as CFM International Leap-1B engines.
Limited systems changes include a Honeywell
electronic bleed-air system.
On the flight deck, large-format Rockwell
Collins displays offering "significant growth
capability" are claimed to provide a
"common look-and-feel" with current 737
display formats that will maintain 737-family
training commonality. "We can offer
customers future [flight-deck] capability as
pilot and training needs evolve," says Wyse.
Boeing also has defined the new model's
high-speed aerodynamic lines (through
analysis and testing in high- and low-speed
wind tunnels to refine its geometric shape)
and established a factory plan for the aircraft
that includes a transition line where initial
units will be assembled before integrating the
737 MAX into the existing 737 production
lines in Renton.
"The variant remains on track for first
delivery in 2017," according to chief project
engineer Michael Teal.
"Now, we are focused on the finer details
of the configuration and are confident we'll be
ready to begin detailed design in mid-2013."
-- Ian Goold
General Electric (GE) has confirmed that
certification testing of improved GEnx-1B
engines has slipped from the fourth quarter of
2012 to early this year. A second package
of performance improvements, dubbed PIP
II, is designed to bring the engine -- which
powers the Boeing 787 -- in line with Boeing
The engine manufacturer now hopes to
complete PIP II testing in the early part of 2013,
ahead of US Federal Aviation Administration
airworthiness approval, which will come
"soon after". By late 2012, 95 percent of the
certification reports had been completed. Work
still outstanding included icing tests.
"We didn't [have] as much cold weather in
Winnipeg as we expected [in early 2012],
which caused us to delay icing tests," says GE.
"But early results have been very positive."
In December, the company was preparing
to start similar PIP certification testing related
to the 747-8's GEnx-2B powerplant. "We
will begin [the 747-8] flight-test programme
early [in 2013] at GE's Victorville (California)
facility. We anticipate engine certification [in]
mid-2013. The GEnx-2B PIP programme will
be a more condensed programme, since it
incorporated changes from the GEnx-1B PIPs."
The GEnx-1B PIP II package introduces
changes to the fan, booster, compressor, and
combustors, following low-pressure turbine
improvements in PIP I. Engines with the
earlier package represent the current build
specification until PIP II manufacture begins
later this year. Beyond a claimed 2 percent
fuel-burn advantage over other engines, GE
hopes that improved performance retention
will contribute a further 1 percent advantage.
The PIP II work is the second part of a two-
stage upgrade aimed at bringing the GEnx-
1B in line with performance requirements
and offering the increased thrust required to
support higher-weight 787s.
"We believe the engine is on track with the
PIPs to meet original specifications," says GE.
The earlier development was approved in
June 2012 and PIPs I and II are expected to
improve GEnx-1B durability, allowing engines
to remain 'on-wing' for longer periods before
GE completed 57 flights involving GEnx-
1B PIP-related work on the company's
Boeing 747 testbed and has subsequently
provided flight-test engines to Boeing. During
six years' development, the company has
tested more than 50 GEnx engines, which
have recorded 38,000 ground and flight
cycles and generated 43,000 hours' running
By December, there were 40 GEnx-1B
engines operating, with an accumulated service
covering 33,000 hours and 6,700 cycles. "The
engine [has] demonstrated a 2 percent fuel-burn
advantage over competitors. We anticipate
maintaining this when the [improved] engine
enters service," says GE. -- Ian Goold
GE CONFIRMS GENX PIP II SLIPPAGE
BOEING FIRMS 737
Boeing is targeting a 13 percent fuel-burn reduction, compared with current models of the 737.
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