February 22, 2007
VICTORVILLE, CALIFORNIA -- The GEnx engine took to the skies today in Victorville, California, marking the start of flight-testing on GE's 747 flying test-bed. During the four-hour first flight, the GEnx-1B engine demonstrated aircraft systems and instrumentation functionality, climbed to close to 40,000 feet and established engine performance baseline for flight-testing.
"The engine performed extremely well, and we look forward to gaining additional valuable information on the engine's capabilities from flight-testing," said Tom Brisken, general manager of the GEnx program. "Today's flight puts us another step closer to certification later this year on the GEnx-1B engine for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner."
Preparations for the first GEnx flight on GE's flying test-bed began more than two years ago. The electrical system requirements for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner posed unique challenges. GE's 747 flying test-bed was modified to manage the electrical load from the engine's two starter-generators and to provide the power necessary for electrical ground and air starts. The modifications were completed last month, and the GEnx-1B engine was installed in the inboard location on the left wing of the aircraft in just one day.
The GEnx flight test team has a rigorous schedule ahead, with about three flights per week over the next three months. These flight-tests will evaluate the steady-state and transient performance of the engine, verify air re-starting capability, determine the combustor operability margins, validate throttle response and assess the nacelle and undercowl cooling characteristics. The majority of the flight tests will occur in Victorville, California with hot-day assessments taking place in Yuma, Arizona, and high-altitude takeoff evaluations occurring in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A second round of flight-testing later this year will focus on the engine control system.
The GEnx began ground testing in March 2006 with engine certification scheduled in September 2007.
The GENX-1B is the best-selling engine for the Boeing 787 and the GEnx-2B will power Boeing's new 747-8 Intercontinental and Freighter aircraft. These combined programs have total orders exceeding 660 engines from 22 customers.
Based on the highly successful GE90 architecture, the GEnx engine will succeed GE's CF6 engine family, which is the most reliable and best-selling engine on wide-body aircraft. It provides significantly better specific fuel consumption and payload performance than GE's CF6 engines.
The GEnx engine is the world's only jet engine with both a front fan case and fan blades made of composites, which provide for greater engine durability, weight reduction and lower operating costs. The fan blades will utilize GE90 composite technology that has performed extremely well, with no routine on-wing maintenance required and no in-service issues for more than a decade.
The GEnx is part of GE's "ecomagination" product portfolio--GE's commitment to develop new, cost-effective technologies that enhance customers' environmental and operating performance.
GE - Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is one of the world's leading manufacturers of jet engines for civil and military aircraft. GE also is a world-leading provider of maintenance and support services for jet engines.