LE HAVRE, France, 10 Feb. 2014. Nexcelle, a joint venture of Aircelle (Safran) and GE Aviation’s Middle River Aircraft Systems and maker of engine nacelles for integrated propulsion systems, delivered its first O-Duct nacelle to equip CFM International’s LEAP-1C engines for the COMAC C919 jetliner.
The O-Duct, developed and manufactured by Aircelle, is to be used with other nacelle components for engine flight tests. Aircelle and Middle River Aircraft Systems will be building the equivalent of 18 initial nacelle shipsets, to be used as complete nacelles for flight testing, and as separate components in such applications as ground-based icing and crosswind testing.
The one-piece composite O-Duct delivered by Nexcelle replaces a traditional thrust reverser’s two-piece “D” doors. When deployed, the O-Duct moves aftward to the reverse thrust position, eliminating drag links in the engine’s secondary flow-path, enhancing the airflow path, improving fuel consumption, and increasing thrust reverser efficiency.
A key feature of the O-Duct is its single-piece, 330-degree carbon composite inner skin, which is produced at Aircelle’s Le Havre, France manufacturing facility using a molding process employed for the first time on this program. The milestone no. 1 O-Duct is now at GE Aviation’s Peebles, Ohio facility, for built-up with the other nacelle components prior to installation on the CFM flight test aircraft.
“Innovation is an important element in Nexcelle’s development of new engine nacelles, and the O-Duct is an example of how our approach to more integrated propulsion systems will benefit aircraft manufacturers and airline operators,” says Nexcelle President Michel Abella.
The O-Duct delivery marks a milestone in Nexcelle’s production hardware deliveries. Nexcelle has also delivered the first LEAP-1C air inlet from Middle River. The hardware has been installed on a LEAP development engine currently undergoing tests.
Nexcelle has been selected to supply the nacelle systems for two major engine programs: the CFM International LEAP-1C for COMAC’s C919 jetliner, and the GE Aviation Passport for Bombardier’s Global 7000 and Global 8000 business aircraft.