General Electric has started ground testing the first full GE9X development engine – a derivative of the company’s GE90 which is the world’s largest commercial aircraft powerplant – at its Peebles Testing, Ohio facility. The GE9X is destined to power Boeing’s new 777X aircraft. Maturation testing of the GE9X engine started around five years ago and has progressed from component-level all the way to the first full engine to test (FETT). FETT brings all the GE9X technologies together to demonstrate their operability as a complete propulsion system.
Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90/GE9X engine programs at GE Aviation, said: “This ground testing will generate data on the full engine system, including aerodynamic performance, mechanical verification as well as aero-thermal system validation.”
Next year will be a busy one for the GE9X programme with the start of certification and flight testing on GE Aviation’s Boeing 747 flying test-bed. Full engine certification is anticipated in 2018. With almost 700 GE9X engines already on order, the powerplant will be in the 100,000lb thrust class and will feature the largest front fan at 134in (340cm) in diameter with a composite fan case and 16 fourth-generation carbo fibre composite fan blades.