To celebrate its 100th year in publication, Aviation Week magazine opened up its vault. Every cover, every article, every photo and every ad published from its collection (Aug. 1, 1916- present) are available for the public to view digitally. Included is a treasure chest of GE Aviation history.
March 15, 1920: the first significant Aviation Week article detailing what GE was up to was published.
The headline on page 146: “General Electric Turbo Supercharger for Airplanes,” by Sanford Moss. In the six-page article, Moss went into detail about the engine booster which would be GE Aviation’s first product success story.
“The General Electric Co. has developed a line of single stage centrifugal compressors for compressing air from 1 to 5 lbs. per sq. in. above atmosphere, for use for many industrial purposes, as well as a line of multi-stage machines for compressing air and gas up to pressure of 30 lb. per square inch above atmosphere. This business has grown rapidly and this year the total sales will approximate a million and a half dollars,” Moss wrote.
Through the years, Aviation Week has documented GE Aviation’s path in becoming the world-leading producer of jet engines. GE products and news are featured on Aviation Week’s cover more than 100 times, and counting, to date. Thousands of articles have been written.
Brief highlights over the years:
May 1, 1920: Notes on Major Schroeder’s Altitude Flight
Maj. R.W. Schroeder, with the aid of a GE turbocharger, set a new world record by climbing to 38,180 on Feb 27, 1920 at McCook Field in Dayton. However, the day nearly turned tragic as Schroeder lost consciousness during the flight due to lack of oxygen/carbon-monoxide intake.
“The plane fell like a shot pigeon down to about 3,000 feet above the ground, where Schroeder regained consciousness, righted the plane and although he was still semi-unconscious and could scarcely see at all due to the chilling of his eyes, he had the presence of mind to open the vents in his gasoline tanks so the engine would continue to get fuel and run … the daily papers have been giving details about his marvelous landing in spite of his almost total blindness.”
January 17, 1944: Initial Success of Jet Propulsion Opens Wide Field in War, Civil Use
A witness account is published describing a secret Bell jet. The plane would later be identified as America’s first jet fighter, the P-59, powered with two GE I-A engines.
“It’s difficult to describe the sound it makes … it does not sound like a conventional airplane because there are no propeller or engine noises. As the plane approaches in a dash across the field, it is almost silent, because the exhaust that thrust it through the air is located in the rear. There is a mighty blast as it passes overhead and then the noise takes on the sound of a freight train rumbling in the distance.”
April 23, 1956: USAF shows unique details of Lockheed Starfighter
The first pictures are detailed of the Lockheed F-104A. The April cover features the Wright J65-powered Starfighter. Less than a year later, two F-104A’s, powered with GE J79 engines, are the cover feature of the Feb. 4, 1957 issue. More than 17,000 J79s were built over 30 years, also powering iconic jets like the F-4 Phantom II, RA-5C Vigilante and B-58 Hustler.
“No speed figures were revealed for the plane, but Aviation Week has learned the prototype XF-104, powered by a Wright J65 with afterburner, has flow at Mach 1.8 (1,192 mph) The production F104A, powered by the much more powerful General Electric J79 and afterburner, obviously is capable of higher speed, reported to be better than Mach 2 (1,324 mph).”
Mid-December, 1968: A line of TF39 engines in the Evendale plant are featured on the cover
June 15, 1970: A CF6-50A is featured on the cover undergoing crosswind test at Peebles
Dec. 7, 1981: The CFM56-powered DC-8 is featured on the cover
Sept. 8, 1986: First flight of a Boeing 727 with a GE/NASA unducted fan engine is featured on the cover
April 19, 1993: The GE90 gets its first cover story as the test program accelerates. On March 27, 1995, the GE90 is also featured on the cover with GE 747 test bed.
July 29, 2002: Technology development key to GE’s future engine strategy
“General Electric is executing a wide –ranging technology maturation development and maturation effort to acquire and bank the technologies that will be needed for wide-bodied transportation engines entering service between 2008 and 2015. The efforts are being conducted under two programs, the Generation X project, which is seeking 2008 engine technologies like those needed by Boeing’s Mach 0.98 Sonic Cruiser; and Generation Y, a longer-term endeavor aimed at powerplants coming into service around 2015.”
October 28, 2013: Pressure Testing: Initial CFM Leap engine runs start the clock on huge development/certification plan
“Not only does Leap inherit the vast medium-thrust, high-bypass market dynasty created by the CFM56, it must also maintain from Day 1 the CFM56’a mature reliability while concurrently improving fuel burn by a step-changing 15%.”
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