THIRD QUARTER 2014
VOLUME FOURTEEN, ISSUE three

AviationWeek.com Special Topics feature GE best practices for effective engine lifecycle management

GE Aviation, in conjunction with AviationWeek online, has embarked on a new thought leadership initiative called “Special Topics.”

“Our Services leaders and GE technical experts often participate in MRO/Aviation industry conference sessions, such as those held at MRO Americas, MRO Europe, ISTAT, IATA and so on,” says Bill Dwyer, services marketing GM at GE Aviation. “This is a great channel to keep a variety of important industry topics in the discussion, while also offering colleagues around the industry additional best practices on overall engine management.”

GE Aviation’s Fleet Maintenance Management web page includes a deep dive into related issues from both AviationWeek articles and GE content. First and foremost, the GE content presents best practices on how to optimize commercial aircraft engines through the entire lifecycle, including:

  • “Technology Upgrades Through Engine Lifecycles” article and video (see full article later in this Service Solutions newsletter edition)
  • White Paper: Workscoping as a Function of Ownership Horizon
  • White Paper: Unique Workscope Considerations for Leased Engines
  • Three two-minute videos on how GE is using advanced diagnostics to get the most out of aircraft engines

“GE’s Special Topics page will continue to run over the next few months and get refreshed with additional informational elements as we go through the rest of 2014,” Dwyer adds.

View/download white papers, articles and videos from GE Aviation’s Special Topics page.

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VIDEO SPOTLIGHT: Advanced repair technologies for future engines, cost-saving benefits for today’s powerplants

Find out how GE Aviation's multimillion dollar annual investment in repair technologies is paying off.

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myGEAviation.com features significant enhancements over current CWC customer portal

GE Aviation is launching myGEAviation.com, a new customer web portal offering streamlined access to relevant information and a modern user interface with a high degree of user customization.

Now in beta test with a select number of customers, myGEAviation.com will replace by the end of this year the current Customer Web Center (CWC) portal, which GE engine operators have historically visited to view and download key information, such as new parts catalogs, technical manuals and other resources.

Derived from “voice of the customer” feedback, initial user comments have been very positive. The new environment offers increased usability and speed among many other functional benefits, plus a select number of apps called “widgets” that are now being tested and utilized, including:

  • Documents (includes most CWC publications)
  • Diagnostics Customer Notification Reports (CNRs)
  • Diagnostics Plotting
  • Ability to submit and manage inquiries

Most information is just one or two clicks away, compared with seven to 12 clicks on the legacy portal. A new onboarding application requires just six simple fields, 63 percent fewer questions than the prior version. Navigation on the site is asset-centric, with users able to navigate by engine serial number, engine family, or by specific aircraft. And users will be able to customize the interface using drag-and-drop widgets and personalized tabs.

For more details, view these short myGEAviation.com tutorial videos:
Introduction to myGEAviation.com
Widgets on myGEAviation.com
myGEAviation.com Tutorial, Help and Information Widget

Web browser requirements and additional info:
myGEAviation.com requires use of a compatible browser, such as Chrome or Firefox for PC and Safari for Mac users. To learn more, visit myGEAviationBlog.com, or contact the team via email: myGEAviation@ge.com.

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New GE Propulsion Test Platform’s triumphant return to Victorville

In April, GE’s new Propulsion Test Platform aircraft returned to the Flight Test Operations (FTO) team in Victorville, California, after two years of intense airframe and other technical modifications.

The modifications for the CF6-powered Boeing* 747-400 were conducted at the EGAT maintenance facility in Taiwan, and the aircraft will flight test both the new GE Passport* and CFM LEAP* engines.

Watch the video to learn more about this aircraft’s extensive capabilities and its return to FTO.

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Enhancing performance, lowering operational costs: Continuous technology upgrades through engine lifecycles

The recent trend is that new and derivative aircraft performance improvements are being gained primarily from new propulsion system technology investments. While new engine certifications are often the time that major technology improvements are brought to market, since the 1980s GE Aviation and CFM International* have had a legacy of continuous technology improvements throughout the engine lifecycle. These have yielded increased fuel efficiency, improved reliability and extended time-on-wing – and in many cases improved the platform capability and economics.

Continuous improvement has come in a variety of forms:

  • Component improvements based on field experience
  • Technology insertions
  • Advanced upgrade kits
  • Upgrades as the duty cycle evolves
  • Enhancement and Performance Improvement Packages (PIPs)

Some of the earliest technology infusion with regard to GE Aviation and CFM56 engines involved material upgrades to the CF6-50 in the 1980s as well as the CFM56-5B/3 3D engine certification and upgrade kit in 1996. At that time, for the CF6-50, areas of improvement mainly included composites containment, large castings and high-pressure turbine (HPT) designs and materials content – with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) and 3D Aero enhancements in place by the mid-1990s.

Working closely with operators, OEMs develop upgrades that address top overhaul-cost drivers and most common causes for engine removal.

CF6-80E engine technology infusion/enhancements over time have resulted in 2.7x time-on-wing improvement since EIS (see Figure 1 in the VIEW MORE IMAGES pop-up window). On the CF6-80E1 tech insertion specifically, Specific Fuel Consumption (SFC) has improved by nearly 1 percent.

“Airlines can benefit greatly from engine upgrades, particularly from a fleet-wide perspective and especially when the engine is in early- to mid-life,” explains Shaun Clements, commercial engine strategy, GE Aviation. “But you have to have a good understanding of where you are with regard to your ownership horizon in comparison with the OEM engine lifecycle.

“The key is for the operator and the OEM to work closely and collaboratively – whether it’s through a longer-term customer services agreement scenario or even through more transactional MRO services – so that you arrive at a solution that ultimately achieves lower maintenance costs, better SFC, and extended time-on-wing.”

In addition to GE’s CF6 improvements, a game changer for the CFM56-2 and CFM56-3 included the FADEC and three-dimensional aerodynamic design airfoils (versus 2D blade configurations), which resulted in 1 percent better fuel burn, repair technology and reliability/durability upgrades (see Figure 2 in the VIEW MORE IMAGES pop-up window).

Introduced as the new production configuration in 2007, the CFM56-5B/3 and CFM56-7B/3 Tech Insertion made substantial improvements in cost of ownership. Specific to the CFM56-5B/3, the upgrade has resulted in:

  • 5-12 percent lower maintenance costs
  • 15 percent EGT margin improvement
  • 1 percent lower SFC over the engine lifecycle

The CFM56-7B/3 achieved a similar 5-12 percent lower maintenance cost (depending on thrust rating), Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) margin and SFC improvement, and the enhancement program for the CFM56-7BE engine – launched in 2011– has resulted in further efficiencies in SFC and maintenance.

“The CFM legacy includes 21 on-time entries into service over a 30-year period, along with eight engine upgrades certified,” says Allen Paxson, CFM executive vice president. But the continuous infusion of new technology does not end with the CFM56-7BE engine. The accompanying chart illustrates continuous SFC improvements planned for the new CFM LEAP engine and beyond (see Figure 3 in the VIEW MORE IMAGES pop-up window).

Tech infusion has come a long way from the ’80s and ’90s. GE and CFM consistently look for opportunities to infuse the technologies of current production engines into more mature engines by using a platform approach combined with evaluation and cost-benefit analyses.

Technology and advanced materials from the then-newer engine development programs, such as the GE90-115B and GEnx, have been incorporated into more established engines to improve overall performance, durability, SFC, EGT margin and, ultimately to significantly extend TOW.

”A key element of our investment spend is on our Leading Indicators Program,” says Teresa Saint-Blancard, GE90 marketing program manager. “This is where we select a variety of high-time/high-cycle operators from diverse operating environments to diagnostically tear down and inspect modules and parts early in the program or after design improvements, and look for early indications of wear or distress. Then we can launch design efforts or start repair programs to further improve durability and lower cost of ownership.”

This continuous investment in twin aisle, long-haul aircraft engines has resulted in an industry-leading departure reliability rate of 99.98 percent and an in-flight shutdown rate of 0.001 percent for the GE90-115B engine (see Figure 4 in the VIEW MORE IMAGES pop-up window).

“We’ve also exceeded original SFC targets related to powering the Boeing 777-ER with a 3.6 percent annual reduction in fuel usage,” Saint-Blancard adds. “To put this into perspective, for a fleet of 10 aircraft, that is enough fuel to fill 500 fuel trucks every year.”

For CF34-8E-powered regional aircraft and CF34-10E engines that power the Embraer 190/195 large business jet, further durability/severe environment improvements were released last year to increase TOW by as much as 15 percent.

Through improved designs and repairs, coupled with advanced material and analytical methods, upgrades have been proven to increase time-on-wing, reliability, repairability, fuel burn, residual value and adherence to more stringent environmental regulations, while also reducing overhaul costs.

GE (via the CFM 50/50 joint venture with Snecma) is contemplating the infusion of Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) technology from the CFM LEAP engine into current, in-service powerplants such as the GEnx and has already tested the engine with CMC parts for 4,000 cycles and 700 hours.

CMCs are made of silicon carbide ceramic fibers and ceramic resin, manufactured through a highly sophisticated process, and further enhanced with proprietary coatings. Highly desirable for engine components, this material is light weight – one-third the density of metal – thereby providing weight reduction and thus, better fuel efficiency.

Additionally, CMCs are durable and more heat resistant than metals, requiring less cooling air and thereby improving overall engine efficiency. Removing cooling air enables a jet engine to run at higher thrust and/or more efficiently. And this is not just limited to engines already in the field. CMC combustor liners are also being considered for future GEnx production models.

“Collaborating closely with operators, GE and CFM continue to keep the products that our customers invested in relevant and modern through technology upgrades,” says Bill Dwyer, GE's services marketing GM. “GE's product managers have a history of upgrading their products to reduce cost of ownership; it's in their DNA.”

  • Upgraded CFM56 engines produce, on average, more than 80 percent fewer hydrocarbon emissions than International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations allow.
  • The newer technology significantly reduces NOx emissions, with upgraded engines producing an average of more than 25 percent fewer NOx emissions than ICAO regulations require.
  • Compared to the CFM56-5- and CFM56-7-powered fleets that originally entered service, upgraded engines can save more than 36 million gallons of jet fuel each year—enough to fill approximately 9,000 jet fuel tanker trucks or fly more than 3.5 million people from New York City to Chicago on current-generation single-aisle aircraft.

Watch the video to learn more about CFM56-5B/-7 tech insertion.

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