GE Aviation employees in Asheville, North Carolina, like Camron Davis, a CMC technician who sought re-training to transition from the retail industry to advanced manufacturing, will support the record-setting business orders and commitments reached at the recent Paris Air Show.
GE Aviation and CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, announced the companies reached approximately $55 billion in jet engines, services, avionics and digital offerings at list price.
The LEAP engine orders placed at the show contain parts made at GE Aviation’s two Asheville facilities, which are growing to support customer demand. The LEAP engine is the highest-selling commercial jet engine ever, now exceeding 18,750 orders to date after the show, powering Airbus, Boeing and COMAC narrowbody aircraft.
“We’re seeing record hiring numbers,” said Ryan Huth, Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) plant manager for GE in Asheville. “We have a specially-designed training course for all our employees in partnership with A-B Tech and are recruiting skilled workers locally. If you’re looking for a good-paying job in advanced manufacturing, the aviation industry is the place to be.”
Camron Davis became a CMC technician after attending a course jointly designed by GE Aviation and Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech).
“I was looking for a career change. I spent the past 12 years in retail and I was in the same position,” Davis said. “By me furthering my education, regardless of my age, it’s showing [my kids] that it does pay off.”
The Asheville CMC plant where Davis now works opened five years ago as the first American manufacturing facility to pursue high-rate CMC production. Operations began to produce high pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP engine made of the advanced material. When the LEAP engine entered service in 2016, it was the first commercial jet engine with CMC materials located in the engine’s hot section.
CMC materials are a revolutionary technology for jet engines. They’re as tough as metals but one-third the weight, and they can withstand temperatures 20 percent higher than most advanced alloys. These improvements amount to more power, lower fuel burn and cost savings for customers.
At the Paris Air Show, GE Aviation also unveiled its newest and largest commercial jet engine, the GE9X, which will power the Boeing 777X widebody aircraft. More than 700 GE9X engines are on order. The engine is in development and is planned to enter service in 2020. The GE9X could also contain parts made in Asheville.
“We were proud to represent Asheville at the Paris Air Show and see the engines many of our community’s manufacturing employees will support on a daily basis,” said Clark Duncan, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Economic Development.
“People in Asheville may not recognize that this level of innovation is concentrated within our city limits. But the global aviation industry knows about us. GE Aviation commitments happening here have put Asheville’s advanced manufacturing on the map,” Duncan said.
Not only will GE9X sport the industry’s largest front fan, it will incorporate more CMCs than any commercial engine in history. Asheville’s CMC operation expects to add more production lines to produce shrouds, nozzles and combustor liners for GE9X.
The rotating parts operation, which joined GE Aviation in 2007, also already makes LEAP engine parts and is planning to manufacture stage one and two retainers for the GE9X.
“GE9X is the next cornerstone,” said Tyler Reed, rotating parts plant manager. “It will add a new chapter to our manufacturing legacy in Asheville. This site has been around for nearly 70 years and GE9X will ensure that it remains at the forefront of production for the next 70 years.”
HOW TO APPLY: Open positions at GE Aviation in Asheville, North Carolina, include CMC technicians and manufacturing specialists, as well as skilled machinists and welders. Search job openings at GE Aviation Asheville by visiting jobs.gecareers.com and searching “Asheville.”