Superjumbo A380 to test open-fan experimental engine

(CNN) — Take a closer look at the plane at the beginning of this story. Notice anything different about one of his engines?

This Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, was brought in as a demonstrator to test a new advanced open-fan engine architecture that could help cut carbon emissions by 20%.

The project was unveiled on Tuesday by Airbus and CFM International at the Farnborough Air Show near London, an annual trade show showcasing the latest aerospace innovations.

This is the latest innovation to be air-tested on the A380 superjumbo, which has had a mixed fate in recent years. The production of the beloved aircraft was stopped in 2021 due to lack of demand. Existing aircraft were grounded by airlines during the pandemic, only to resume flights recently due to travel demand.

CFM, whose parent companies are GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, is developing advanced engine technologies through its Revolutionary Innovation for Greener Engines (RISE) demonstration program.

Now the goal is to improve and accelerate this with a flight test campaign aboard this A380, due to take to the skies in the second half of this decade from the Airbus flight test center in Toulouse, France.

Before that happens, CFM will conduct engine ground testing and flight test validation at the GE Aviation Flight Test Center in Victorville, California.

The objectives of the flight test program are to better understand engine-wing integration and aerodynamic performance, demonstrate higher fuel efficiency that will reduce CO2 emissions by up to a fifth of today’s most efficient engines, and ensure compatibility with 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

“New propulsion technologies will play an important role in achieving zero aviation goals, along with new aircraft designs and sustainable energy sources,” said Sabina Klauke, Chief Technology Officer at Airbus.

The goal of the CFM RISE program is to expand technological capabilities, redefine the art of the possible, and help achieve more sustainable long-term growth for our industry,” affirmed Gael Meeust, President and CEO of CFM International.

Earlier this year, Airbus announced it would be testing experimental hydrogen engine on the A380 – another partnership with CFM International – with the aim of creating a zero-emission aircraft by 2035.

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