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,
“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
“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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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*
Watch the video to learn more about this aircraft’s extensive capabilities and its return to FTO.
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
Continuous improvement has come in a variety of forms:
Component improvements based on field experience
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
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
“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
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.
*CFM, CFM56 and LEAP are trademarks of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE and Snecma (Safran). *GE90, GEnx, CF34 and CF6 are trademarks of GE. All other registered and unregistered trademarks are property of their respective owners.