GE Aviation announced it has completed the initial ground testing of the first full GE9X development engine, the world’s largest commercial aircraft engine that will power Boeing’s 777X.
In total, the engine accumulated 167 hours, 213 cycles and 89 starts. The company says the ground testing, which began in April, provided data on the engine’s aerodynamic and thermal characteristics, mechanical integrity, performance and operability.
The engine will be in the 100,000-pound thrust class and will include the world’s largest front fan (134 inches in diameter), a composite fan case and 16 fourth generation carbon fiber composite fan blades. The engine also features heat-resistant ceramic matrix composite (CMC) inner and outer liners. Later this year, GE Aviation will conduct ice testing on the first engine to test (FETT) to see how the engine will perform.
GE Aviation says certification testing and flight testing on the GE9X program will begin in the first half of 2017, and engine certification is expected in 2018. There are already 700 GE9X engines on order. The aircraft itself is expected to make its debut in 2020.
However, the engine will not be the only part of the 777X made with composites. A week before GE Aviation announced the engine ground testing, Boeing announced it has invested more than $300 million on a new composite center in St. Louis that will be responsible for Production of 777X wing edge and empennage parts.