GE Aviation’s CF34 engine had already built a name for itself when Lufthansa CityLine launched its first CF34-3A1-powered Bombardier CRJ100 into regional jet service on November 2, 1992.
The TF34, its military application developed more than two decades before, was well known for its outstanding record of reliability and durability on the Air Force’s A-10 Warthog and the Navy’s S-3 Viking.
In Business Aviation, the CF34 established itself as one of the cleanest, quietest, and most fuel-efficient engines in its class on the Challenger 601 Corporate jet, which entered service in 1983.
The CF34’s combination of reliability and efficiency soon paved the way to the fastest growing market in the aerospace industry: the regional jet airline. In 1987, studies began to lengthen the Challenger fuselage to maximize a seating configuration from under 20 to 50. This led to the formal launch of the Canadair Regional Jet program and the creation of the CRJ100 by Bombardier.
By its entry into service in 1992, the CRJ100 was flying faster and further than the regional airline turboprops that were well-established in the market. The CF34-equipped CRJ100 had a non-stop flying range of 1,500 miles, a top speed of 530 mph, and the ability to fly as high as 41,000 feet in what Bombardier promoted as the world’s quietest jetliner.
In its first 100 days, the CRJ100 flew 1,237 flights with 99% dispatch reliability and fuel economy is 8% better than originally forecast. Lufthansa, Cincinnati-based Comair and other regional airlines lined up to capitalize on major carries who were turning over their shorter, less-traveled routes to their regional satellites.
In a little more than six years, the CF34 engine had grabbed the majority share of the regional airline engine market. By the end of the decade, the CF34 program had a backlog approaching $3.6 billion.
Now 25 years since its first regional airline flight, CF34 engines continue to set the standard for performance, durability and reliability for regional jets around the world.
Today, the CF34 engine family powers more than 12,000 daily passenger flights operating in 130 countries and 1,400 cities. That adds up to 4.4 million passenger flights and 140 million flight hours accumulated annually on Bombardier, Embraer and Comac aircraft.
“We continue to drive innovation for the CF34 product line in hardware upgrades, utilization differentiation and digital solutions,” said Dave Kircher, general manager of regional engines and services for GE Aviation. “Additionally, we are driving several Services solutions to make our overall CF34 cost of ownership even more competitive.”
Engines in the CF34 engine family include:
- CF34-10E: GE has delivered more than 1,500 CF34-10E engines for Embraer’s E190/195 aircraft and the EMBRAER Lineage 1000 business jet. With the highest thrust rating for the CF34 engine family at 20,000 pounds of thrust, the CF34-10E engine has accumulated 24 million flight hours and 17 million cycles. Since entry into service, fuel burn on the CF34-10E engine has improved by more than 2 percent due to design enhancements and optimization.
- CF34-10A: The CF34-10A engine powers the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) ARJ21 regional jet, the first regional jet to be designed and built in China. The first aircraft was delivered to Chengdu Airlines in late 2015. COMAC received its production certificate in July and has announced orders for more than 250 ARJ21 regional jet aircraft and forecasts a demand for up to 850 aircraft over the next 20 years.
- CF34-8: More than 3,200 CF34-8 engines have been delivered to 85 operators of Bombardier CRJ700/CRJ900s (1470) and Embraer’s E170/175s (870) aircraft. The engines have accumulated more than 53 million flight-hours and 40 million cycles. Since entering service in 2001, GE has made improvements to the combustor, HPT blades and nozzles to improve durability and time on wing for severe environment operations.
- CF34-3: More than to 2,200 CF34-3A1 and -3B1 engines power the Bombardier CRJ100/200 aircraft and have accumulated more than 62 million flight hours and 55 million cycles.