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GE Developing A Massive Jet Engine For the Future

a big plane coming right at us

General Electric’s projected revenue of $123.8 billion is not a modest figure for the multinational conglomerate. With this value on hand, the Boston-based company can develop high-quality services for power generation and aviation sectors — and good thing, GE aircraft engines is doing just that.

Now, the billion-dollar corporation has created a new benchmark after it engineered the very first large jet engine for commercial purposes.

In the words of Jeff Immelt, the former CEO of General Electric, “The ability to demand high performance without being heartless, has been a part of GE for a long time.” This quotation has served the purpose of GE, especially when it delved into a new project that got the attention of critics and spectators alike.

GE being a global leader when it comes to innovation conducted its very first flight test for the biggest commercial jet engine called the GE9X, a 100,000-pound thrust engine.

What Makes GE9X Big?

Word has it that GE9X is as big as the fuselage of its test plane.

The jet engine’s front fan is a world record holder for its 11 feet diameter size. GE9X has 3D-printed fuel nozzles and parts of it are also made from materials called ceramic matrix composites (CMCs). 

According to reports, the large jet engine will undertake multiple and different run-throughs that would check if its thermal, aerodynamic, and mechanical features are going to be ready in the future. The trials will last for several months.

Boeing 747 of Boeing, the number one manufacturer of commercial jets, is the test plane that was used for examining the capabilities of the GE9X engine. The billion-dollar company chose the specific plane type in order to see if the engine will be fit for the Boeing’s latest version of 777 jets, the Boeing 777x. Authorities have suggested that the said plane will be operational in the year 2020.

For now, authorities and engineers are focused on making sure that the test plane and jet engine will pass the safety certification to be held in 2019.

If deemed successful, the GE9X will not just be the largest available jet engine in the world because it will also be fuel-efficient, noiseless, and is 5% more economical. These features mean more jetliner manufacturers would get their hand onto the GE9X.

The engine is not yet out in the market but several airlines have already ordered over 700 GE9X engines. The following are some of the airline companies that devoted their trust to the large commercial jet engine:

  • Qatar Airways – The Doha-based air transportation company delivers the passenger, mail, and cargo transport services.
  • Lufthansa – Lufthansa provides cargo and passenger air transportation and airplane maintenance services.
  • Cathay Pacific – Founded in 1946, Cathay Pacific owns and runs charter flights for both passengers and cargoes.
  • Emirates – Emirates is an airline corporation that provides services around the world.
  • Etihad Airways – The Abu Dhabi-based company operates its services across the United Arab Emirates.

The ordered jet engines were valued for a whopping price of $29 billion. The market for the GE9X engine has not even been launched but it’s predicted to disrupt its future sales positively.

Not The First Time

“Three is a charm.” This proverb might have been applicable to the story of GE’s engine trial. It is not actually the first time that the Boston-based company planned a flight test because this is their third try.

The first one was announced last year of December, however, because of unwanted technical dilemmas for both the large jet engine and the test plane, the trial was canceled. The second testing was announced last February of this year and just like the first one, it was also canceled due to a minor design issue in the engine’s turbofan.

Because of the great efforts exerted by the company’s engineers, the latest trial became very successful.

Chuck Jackson, the program leader for the GE9X project, said, “Due to the significant amount of new technologies in the GE9X, we planned the testing program differently. The early testing informed the design and manufacturing and allowed us to freeze the product definition and test the total engine as soon as possible.”

MTU Aero Engines from Germany, IHI Corp from Japan, and Safran from France are three of the companies that have tirelessly helped General Electronic develop the GE9X.

General Electric is still in the early stage of their trials but the company is already seeing positive outcomes. If GE played their cards right in the following flight tests, they might generate a bold impact by persuading other engine makers to produce large engines as well. It could then lead to the creation a new market for the large commercial jet engines.





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