Airbus to Test an Open-Fan Turbine Engine On an A380

CFM's open-fan concept could reduce jet fuel carbon emissions by 20 percent.

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There are a variety of reasons why commercial airlines want more and more fuel-efficient aircraft. First, airlines are aiming to meet their publicly stated sustainability goals. Second, carriers have to comply with impending government regulations to be less carbon-intensive. Plus, it’s a straightforward method of increasing profits. If less money is spent on fuel, then a larger percentage of ticket revenue can remain with the airline. CFM International believes that it has the technology to unlock those profits.

CFM International is developing an open-fan turbine engine concept as a part of its Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engine (RISE) program. CFM is a 50-50 joint venture between General Electric and Safran, a French aerospace and defense company. CFM believes that the open-fan concept could garner enough fuel efficiency gains to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent with traditional Jet-A fuel. The RISE program’s end goal is to develop the foundational technologies for the next generation of aircraft engines.

CFM Rise program - Open fan,The most ambitious architecture | Safran

This level of development requires extensive testing. At the Farnborough Airshow, CFM announced a partnership with Airbus to flight test the concept on an A380 testbed aircraft. The open fan concept is based around a 14-foot diameter fan placed in front of non-rotating variable-pitch stators. The engine will undergo ground testing and flight test validation at GE Aviation’s engine testing center in Victorville, California. Then, it will be mounted to the A380 for tests at the Airbus flight test center in Toulouse, France.


Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer, said:

“New propulsion technologies will play an important role in achieving aviation’s net-zero objectives, along with new aircraft designs and sustainable energy sources. By evaluating, maturing and validating open fan engine architecture using a dedicated flight test demonstrator, we are collaboratively making yet another significant contribution to the advancement of technology bricks that will enable us to reach our industry-wide decarbonization targets.”


It will be interesting to see what improvements the RISE program yields, and how its potential efficiency gains ripple across the rest of the commercial aviation industry.