Airbus and CFM to use A380 aircraft as open fan engine testbed


Airbus and CFM International will use an Airbus A380 aircraft to test CFM’s open fan engine architecture. The Airbus A380 flight demonstrator with open fan engine architecture is expected to fly in the second half of this decade.  

Ahead of the A380 demonstrator flights, CFM will conduct engine ground tests at GE Aviation’s Flight Test Operations center in Victorville, the United States. 

“New propulsion technologies will play an important role in achieving aviation’s net-zero objectives, along with new aircraft designs and sustainable energy sources,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer.  

The manufacturer believes that this technology could be a game changer for commercial aviation, with the industry seeking ways to make flying carbon emissions-free by 2050. 

The flight demonstrator aims to contribute to future engine and aircraft efficiency improvements, including enhanced understanding of engine/wing integration and aerodynamic performance as well as propulsive system efficiency gains, validating performance benefits, including better fuel efficiency that would provide a 20%, and ensuring compatibility with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).   

Klauke added: “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.” 

The news comes five months after Airbus announced that it will use the A380 as a testbed aircraft for its ZEROe project, which aims to develop a zero-emission aircraft by 2035. The Airbus A380 flight demonstrator with hydrogen propulsion systems is expected to fly around 2025.   


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