GE’s latest jet engine, the GE9X, keeps piling on the superlatives. Already the world’s largest commercial jet engine, it is also now the most powerful one, according to Guinness World Records.
The records keeper announced today that the GE9X, which GE Aviation developed for Boeing’s new 777X widebody jet, clocked in at 134,300 pounds of thrust during a test run. That’s not too far off the 188,000 pounds of thrust commanded by the Soyuz rocket that helped Yuri Gagarin to become the first human to orbit the Earth.
“The GE9X engine incorporates the most advanced technologies that GE Aviation has developed during the last decade and is the culmination of our commercial engine portfolio renewal,” said David Joyce, president and chief executive officer of GE Aviation. “While we didn’t set out to break the thrust Guinness World Records title, we are proud of the engine’s performance, which is a testament to our talented employees and partners who design and build outstanding products for our customers.”
The new record-breaking thrust occurred during an engineering test on Nov. 10, 2017, at GE’s outdoor test facility in Peebles, Ohio. Guinness World Records acknowledged the feat on Friday at a ceremony at GE Aviation’s Ohio headquarters as part of the company’s 100-year celebration.
Another GE engine, the GE90-115B developed for Boeing 777, set the previous record of 127,900 pounds of thrust in 2002.
Joyce unveiled the GE9X engine in June at the Paris Air Show. GE has received orders for more than 700 GE9X engines. That engine, whose front fan is a full 11 feet in diameter, uses the fourth generation of carbon-fiber composite fan blades originally developed for the GE90. It holds parts made from the latest materials like light and heat-resistant ceramic matrix composites, and components made by advanced manufacturing technologies like 3D printing. “The ceramics allowed us to go to 60:1 [pressure ratio] inside the GE9X,” says Ted Ingling, the general manager for the GE9X engine program. “That’s huge. As a result, the GE9X engine is not dramatically larger than engines in the GE90 family, even though it’s much more efficient.”
Ingling says the new technologies and materials help make the engine 10% more fuel-efficient than its predecessor. This is a big deal, given that fuel costs amount to as much as 20% of an airline’s operating expenses on average. “The technologies I’ve worked on are out of this world,” he says. “I never have a dull moment.”