The world’s largest jet engine, the GE9X, took to the skies for the first time on March 13 from Victorville, California, under the wings of a heavily modified GE Aviation 747 test aircraft. The engine, destined to power the new Boeing 777X, took to the air and flew for more than four hours during this first flight test. The aircraft and engine completed scheduled tests and validated the operational and functional characteristics that will allow the test campaign to progress in subsequent flights.
Certification testing of the GE9X began last May. The engine recently finished icing tests at GE Aviation’s facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and crosswind testing at GE Peebles Test Operation in Ohio. GE expects the engine to obtain certification next year in time for the 777-9X’s entry into service in 2020.
The GE9X will be in the 100,000 pound thrust class. Its 134-inch-diameter front fan is the largest of any commercial engine in production or development. It features a composite fan, 16 fourth-generation carbon fibre composite fan blades, an 11-stage 27:1 pressure-ratio high-pressure compressor, a third-generation TAPS III combustor, and ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material in the combustor and turbine.
It should also be noted that IHI Corporation, Safran Aircraft Engines, Safran Aero Boosters, and MTU Aero Engines all participate in the GE9X engine program.
Photo credit: GE Aviation