It was a big year for the aviation industry and aviation fans, and GE Aviation led the way. From exhaust systems that made the aerospace world say “Whoa” to setting records in the biggest engine ramp-up in history, we look back on our top 8 stories of 2018.
The GE9X engine lifted off on March 13 under wing of GE Aviation’s 747 flying testbed in Victorville, California, for its first flight test. 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. GE9X, the largest commercial engine in aviation history, will power Boeing’s new 777X aircraft.
Tony Mathis, CEO and President of GE Aviation’s Military Systems business, outlined why GE Aviation’s T901 turboshaft helicopter engine is the superior choice for the U.S. Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP). The full modularity of the T901’s single-spool core provides the Army with unmatched shadow-of-the-aircraft maintainability.
At a press conference in October, we announced the completion of the initial design of the first supersonic engine purpose-built for business jets. This new engine class, revealed as GE’s AffinityTM is optimized with proven GE technology for supersonic flight and timed to meet the Aerion AS2 launch.
The excitement poured in as aviation fans welcomed the return of supersonic flight. And the exhaust on the Affinity had everyone talking.
Few planes inspire more awe than the Galaxy. Known to pilots and plane spotters as the C-5, the Galaxy was developed by Lockheed Martin in the late 1960s to ferry equipment and troops to Asia. This summer, almost exactly 50 years after the plane made its maiden voyage, Lockheed delivered the latest upgraded version, called the C-5M Super Galaxy, to the U.S. Air Force.
The C-5 is the largest plane in the U.S. Air Force fleet. And although the Galaxy is a military transport plane, it helped launch GE into the commercial aviation business.
The fastest-selling, high-thrust jet engine in GE Aviation history, the GEnx, was again selected to power 47 newly ordered Boeing 787 Dreamliners by American Airlines. With the order, the GEnx order book rises beyond 2,000 engines sold in less than 15 years since the program was selected to power the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, solidifying it as the fastest selling high-thrust GE engine in history.
The 30,000th additively-manufactured fuel nozzle tip “grew” on a 3D printer at GE Aviation’s plant in Auburn, Ala. in October, where we opened the industry’s first site for mass production using the additive manufacturing process.
Employees at GE Aviation in Auburn began producing the nozzle tip in 2015. More 3D printers have been added since the facility started additive production, and now, more than 40 printers are making parts from a metal powder.
As NASA paves the way to making quiet supersonic passenger air travel over land possible with its new supersonic X-plane, the F414 will be along for the ride! The F414 will venture out of its highly successful military “lane” and serve as the engine for NASA’s Low Boom Flight Demonstrator.