GE9X engine goes airborne

GE9X test Photo by GE

The GE9XTM engine lifted off on March 13 under the wing of GE Aviation’s 747 flying testbed in Victorville, California, for its first flight test.

The engine that will power Boeing’s new 777X aircraft flew for more than four hours on its first flight. During the flight, the aircraft and engine completed the entire test card and validated key operational and functional characteristics enabling the test campaign to progress in subsequent flights.

Certification testing of the GE9X engine began in May 2017. Beyond flight testing, the engine recently completed icing tests at GE Aviation’s facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and continues crosswind testing at the Peebles Test Operation in Ohio. Engine certification is expected in 2019.

With almost 700 GE9X engines on order, the GE9X engine will be in the 100,000 pound thrust class and will have the largest front fan at 134 inches in diameter with a composite fan case and 16 fourth generation carbon fiber composite fan blades. Other key features include: a next-generation 27:1 pressure-ratio 11-stage high-pressure compressor; a third-generation TAPS III combustor for high efficiency and low emissions; and CMC material in the combustor and turbine.

IHI Corporation, Safran Aircraft Engines, Safran Aero Boosters and MTU Aero Engines AG are participants in the GE9X engine program.

— GE