LEAP-1C and the COMAC C919
With its initial program win, announced in 2010, Nexcelle is a key partner on the world’s first truly integrated propulsion system – supplying a highly capable nacelle, thrust reverser and exhaust system for the CFM International LEAP-1C engine on China’s COMAC C919 jetliner.
Key features of Nexcelle’s nacelle system for the LEAP-1C include an all-new translating O-Duct thrust reverser configuration; a fan cowl that is structurally integrated to the engine; and an integrated mounting system for reduced engine distortion and enhanced on-wing performance.
A major innovation in Nexcelle’s nacelle design is its one-piece composite O-Duct thrust reverser configuration, which replaces the two-piece “D” doors on traditional thrust reversers. The O-Duct design eliminates drag links in the engine’s secondary flow-path, enhancing the airflow path and improving fuel consumption. The O-Duct deployment is performed with an electrical thrust reverser actuation system (ETRAS), which is more environmentally friendly, as it does not use aviation hydraulic fluids.
Another of the nacelle system’s technological advances is its low drag front end that incorporates an air inlet with a one-piece lip skin, improving airflow and contributing to lower noise. Additionally, the inlet has a directed flow nozzle deicing system, which more efficiently swirls engine bleed air within the inlet lip, thereby providing weight, efficiency and maintainability improvements from traditional nacelle deicing systems.
Nexcelle’s LEAP-1C nacelle also incorporates the extensive use of lightweight and state-of-the-art noise-attenuating composite materials, benefitting from the joint venture parent companies’ proven experience in their respective nacelle and thrust reverser product lines.
In developing the nacelle system, Nexcelle worked closely with CFM International; the result of their collaboration is one of the first truly integrated propulsion systems for the air transport sector. Nexcelle’s parent companies have personnel located in Shanghai, ensuring continuous on-site support for LEAP-1C nacelle build-up and podding with the engine, which occurs at COMAC’s assembly facility adjacent to Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
The no. 1 C919 made its maiden flight in May 2017, deploying the O-Duct thrust reverser during the jetliner’s first landing – demonstrating its performance from the start-up of flight testing. For the aircraft’s test and certification flights, personnel from MRAS were stationed at several locations in China.
In September 2022, the C919 jetliner was issued its airworthiness type certification by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), with the initial delivery occurring in December 2022 to China Eastern Airlines. With commercial service targeted in the Spring of 2023, this milestone C919 is configured with 164 seats in a two-class cabin layout.
Passport and the Bombardier Global 7500/Global 8000
Nexcelle was selected in 2011 to provide the nacelle and thrust reverser for GE’s new integrated powerplant, named Passport, which powers the Bombardier Global 7500 and Global 8000 business jets.
Features of the nacelle include a one-piece extended aluminum inlet lip for reduced aerodynamic drag; an innovative anti-ice system that uses a directed flow nozzle concept; and a 360-degree, single-piece extended composite inner barrel incorporating advanced acoustic protection for lower engine noise levels. It also incorporates a simplified composite fan cowl that allows for improved maintenance and reduces system weight.
The target-type thrust reverser uses a mature configuration that is demonstrating its reliability in service on the Global 7500. Among the key features are the thrust reverser’s light weight, resulting in part from the integration of typically separate components (such as the pivot frame and fan ramp), along with the use of composite and thermoplastic materials. The thrust reverser has very low internal drag in the direct-flow configuration during flight, contributing to the Global 7500’s overall performance.
Bombardier’s initial Global 7500 Flight Test Vehicle (FTV1) performed its maiden flight in November 2016, utilizing the Nexcelle nacelle system’s thrust reversers for deceleration from the first landing rollout. The business jet was certified by U.S. and Canadian airworthiness authorities in the second half of 2018, having accumulated more than 2,700 flight hours with five Flight Test Vehicles.
Bombardier handed over its first Global 7500 in December 2018, and the company launched its performance-enhanced Global 8000 version in 2022.