Pushing The Envelope: GE90-115B Undergoes Unprecedented Maturation Program
LE BOURGET - June 16, 2003 - The GE90-115B, the world's most powerful jet engine, is poised to undergo the most aggressive maturation test program ever devised by GE Aircraft Engines for a commercial engine entering passenger service.
Engine certification testing for the GE90-115B is nearing completion, and the engine is powering Boeing's new 777-300ER in a 1,600-hour flight-test program. Boeing expects to achieve U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European Joint Aviation Authorities certification for this engine/aircraft combination in early 2004.
Now, to further support a successful service entry, GE has developed a four-year maturation test program involving three development GE90-115B engines with the goal to simulate and evaluate approximately 20 years of typical airline service on the engine.
"GE90 engines powering 777s in service today already operate at extremely high rates of reliability," said Chaker Chahrour, general manager of the GE90 Engine Program. "Our intent is to initiate service with the GE90-115B engine at equal or better levels of reliability. The GE90-115B maturation program pushes the envelope in pursuing engine durability and reliability in an ETOPS (Extended Range Twin Engine Operations) environment."
The GE90-115B maturation program begins this summer with cyclic endurance testing of a fleet leader engine that will ultimately complete 13,000 cycles. This engine will be maintained in accordance with airline shop maintenance practices and complete a total of five shop visits. This testing is slated to be complete at test sites of GE90 program revenue participants, IHI in Japan and Snecma Moteurs in France.
A second development engine begins a 3,000-cycle ETOPS ground demonstration later this summer at GE's test facility in Peebles, Ohio. This engine will have a complete teardown and piece part inspection to manual limits to validate its ETOPS capability. In 2004, the same engine undergoes an intense 3,000-cycle run that will include intentional rotor imbalance to drive high engine vibration loads. A third development engine, aimed at validating the durability of the engine's hot section components will begin testing later this year.
Combined, the maturation program will accumulate more than 30,000 cycles of simulated field operation by mid-2006, staying well ahead of any engine in revenue service. This accelerated testing helps GE drive down maintenance costs by aligning repair development with the engine maintenance life cycle.
To further substantiate the engine's capability, the GE90-115B completed a highly successful flight test program this spring on GE's 747 Flying Testbed. With the engine installed at the left inboard position, the Flying Testbed (GE's unique flying test laboratory) completed 48 flights and 217 flight hours over a 152-day period to obtain data at altitude conditions. The comprehensive test program focused on in-flight performance, air start capability, operability and system durability.
The GE90-115B, being certified at an unprecedented 115,000 pounds of thrust, is the engine for Boeing's new 777-300ER and 777-200LR aircraft. The 777-300ER will enter passenger service in early 2004.
Air France, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, EVA Air, International Lease Finance Corporation, Pakistan International Airlines, and GE Capital Aviation Services have ordered a total of 61 longer-range 777s powered by the GE90-115B engine. The engine orders are valued at more than $2 billion. Snecma Moteurs, IHI, and FiatAvio are participants on the GE90-115B engine program.