On Saturday, July 12, 1919, at McCook Field in Dayton, OH, U.S. Army Major Rudolph “Shorty” Schroeder pilots a Lepère biplane for the maiden flight of the GE turbosupercharger. Major Schroeder takes the biplane in rapid ascent to more than 16,000 feet and sustains power, marking the first flight of a GE-powered aircraft and the birth of GE Aviation.
Last year, GE Aviation celebrated its centennial anniversary with employees from more than 75 sites around the globe coming together to mark the monumental occasion.
As teams across the globe celebrated GE Aviation’s 100 years of reimagining flight, a small team assembled near the new GE Aviation Welcome Center at the Evendale headquarters for a unique anniversary task: Burying the 100th anniversary time capsule.
Before the time capsule is opened again in 50 years, thousands of GE Aviation employees, customers and visitors will pass by the site and likely ponder: I wonder what’s in it?
What Will the Future Want to See?
If Sanford Moss and the small team of engineers who spent months on Pike’s Peak running tests for the GE turbosupercharger were to have left a time capsule for the 100th anniversary, what might they have included?
A rock from Pike’s Peak? Notes regarding the testing? A patent drawing of the turbosupercharger?
That was the daunting question facing the team last summer: What to include in the 100th anniversary time capsule? What would people in the year 2069 be interested in? And with the rate of technology advancements, what might they still be able to access?
Employees were asked to submit recommendations and vote on what they believed would be best, and ultimately ten items were chosen to go into the box for the next generation to discover.
But as the last items were sealed into the protective wrap and envelopes, the team had doubts. Would future GE employees and the future GE Aviation CEO who opened the box be as excited as they were about the items selected? Would they wonder, Why these items?
Not wanting to bury the capsule with any regrets, the last-minute decision was made to include a binder explaining the meaning behind every item. The box was then resealed and had its last contact from the outside world for 50 years.
Inside the capsule, future GE Aviation employees will find LEAP CMC shrouds, additive fuel nozzle tips, and advertising campaigns, all serving as a testament to GE’s state-of-the-art technology in 2019. Our great innovators were also honored with the inclusion of a program from the 2019 Hall of Fame inductee ceremony. Three books about GE Aviation and the 2019 air show pitches, which include show headlines featuring deals and news of the day, were also included.
Company culture and values were represented through a purpose statue, while an aerial campus photo, a photo album, and volunteer shirts with volunteer effort metrics were also placed inside. These capture the impact GE has on the world and why employees come to work each day.
Also included in the time capsule is a letter to the future. The letter describes each item in the box and why it was chosen and ends with the GE Aviation purpose statement: We invent the future of flight, lift people up, and bring them home safely.