GE Aviation has flown its GE9X engine for the first time under the wing of the company’s Boeing 747 flying test bed, N747GF (c/n 26355). The powerplant took to the air at 10.40am Pacific standard time on March 13 from the GE Aviation’s Victorville, California facility and flew for more than four hours. The manufacturer reports that during the flight, the aircraft and engine underwent key operational and functionality tests.
The GE9X, the manufacturer claims, will become the world’s most powerful commercial aircraft engine when it enters service in 2019/20, and will be rated in the 100,000lb thrust class. It will have the largest front fan at 134in (340cm) in diameter with a composite fan case and 16 fourth-generation carbon fibre composite fan blades.
Ted Ingling, general manager of the GE9X programme, commented: “The GE9X and Victorville teams have spent months preparing for flight testing of the engine, and their efforts paid off today with a perfect first flight. This marks the beginning of the flight test campaign that will last for several months, allowing us to accumulate data on how the engine performs at altitude and during various phases of flight.”