With 2022 on the horizon, here’s a look back at some of GE Aviation’s top Commercial and Business Aviation stories of 2021. This list doesn’t include GE’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from Commercial Aviation. We will feature a separate list on these initiatives later this month.
The GE9X-powered Boeing 777X makes its show debut
Boeing’s newest widebody passenger jet, the 777X, made its public debut at the Dubai Airshow in November, flying from Seattle to the United Arab Emirates in 15 hours.
The 777-9 aircraft, with its massive 100,000-pound-thrust-class GE9X engines, amazed the crowd during a demo flight with a steep climb out and steep climb out, and a wingover maneuver that showed off its agility.
GE’s Catalyst turboprop takes flight
Switching from GE’s largest engine (GE9X) to one of its smallest, the Catalyst turboprop made news this fall with two milestone flights. In September, GE conducted a successful 1 hour, 40-minute flight of the Catalyst on a Beechcraft King Air Flying Test Bed (photo above) at the Berlin Airport. Then in November, Textron completed its first test flight of the engine on the Beechcraft Denali.
The Catalyst is the first new, clean-sheet turboprop engine to enter the business and general aviation market in more than 50 years. The engine is GE’s first modern Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) controlled turboprop, aimed to service the 850 -1600 SHP range.
Beyond the engine: systems success with Gulfstream, Dassault
GE Aviation provides electrical power systems to customers including Lockheed Martin (F-35 fighter) and Boeing (Apache helicopter and 777 airliner). In 2021, GE was selected by two iconic business jet manufacturers to provide electrical power distribution for their newest models.
In July, French manufacturer Dassault announced it selected GE Aviation to provide the Primary and solid state Secondary Electrical Power Distribution and Control System for the recently launched Dassault Falcon 10X. In November, Gulfstream announce that GE Aviation will provide both avionics and power systems for the new Gulfstream G400 and Gulfstream G800.
Business continues to build
In May, GE Aviation broke ground on a 280,000 square foot facility near Dayton, Ohio, that will be used to manufacture engine components for both civil, military aviation and aero derivative applications. The facility is expected to open by the first quarter of 2022 and fully operational by the end of 2022.
In October, GE Evergreen Engine Services (GEEVES), a joint venture between Evergreen Aviation Technology Corp (EGAT) and GE Aviation, announced the opening of a new component repair site for CF6 and GEnx engines, located at Guanyin Industrial Park in Taiwan.
The CF6 hits 50 years of revenue service
On August 5, 2021, GE Aviation celebrates the 50th anniversary of revenue service of the CF6 widebody jet engine family, which, to date, has accumulated more than 460 million engine flight hours.
Before the introduction of the CF6 engine, GE Aviation had yet to find a successful footing in the civil aviation market. That changed in 1971. Building on the technology of the TF39 military engine, GE’s CF6-6 high bypass turbofan aircraft engine entered service on the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10. Since then, the CF6 family has grown to include the CF6-50, CF6-80A, CF6-80C2 and CF6-80E1 engine models.
15 years of Global Fleet Support Center in China
In 2006, GE Aviation established a Fleet Support center in Shanghai to support China’s growing civil aviation industry and respond to the demand for localized support services for China customers. Since its establishment 15 years ago, its scope has also been upgraded from ‘in China, for China,’ to ‘in China, for the globe,’ growing from initially supporting about 3,000 engines operating in China to more than 37,000 engines in the world today.
Dust test success
The GEnx and GE9X both completed dust ingestion testing this year, where a stream of dust was injected into the engines to validate their enhanced durability.
Ten years after the GEnx entered service powering a Cargolux 747-8, GE Aviation continues to invest in the next generation of technology for the engine line. The endurance tests checked off several hardware improvements, including an improved combustor deflector and redesigned high pressure turbine stage 1 blade.
For the FAA-approved GE9X, after 1,600 cycles of test execution and post-borescope inspection, all components functioned as expected. These test simulations represent the everyday flying the GE9X engine will perform in some of the harshest environments found around the world.
Advanced manufacturing milestones for CFM LEAP engine parts
Two GE Aviation facilities producing advanced jet engine components passed major manufacturing milestones in 2021. GE Aviation’s Asheville, North Carolina, facility shipped its 100,000th turbine shroud made from Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) materials, while the Auburn, Alabama, facility shipped its 100,000th additively manufactured fuel nozzle tip. The Asheville facility, which began producing CMCs in 2014, is the aviation industry’s first mass manufacturing site for jet engine components made from CMCs. The Auburn site began producing fuel nozzles in 2015 and was the industry’s first mass manufacturing site for producing aircraft engine parts using additive manufacturing.
Major customer orders announced
Some of 2021’s major engine order announcements include:
An Indigo order for 310 new Airbus A320neo, A321neo, and A321XLR aircraft (LEAP-1A).
A Southwest Airlines order for 100 Boeing 737 Max aircraft (LEAP-1B).
A Bamboo Airways order for up to 30 Boeing 787 aircraft (GEnx-2B).
A UPS order for 19 767F aircraft (CF6)
A number of GE Aviation sites had milestone anniversaries this year, including:
GE Aviation Celma celebrated its 70th Located in Petropolis, Brazil, the facility is the largest aircraft engines overhaul shop in South America.
GE Aviation Strother also celebrated its 70th Located in Cowley County, the Kansas operation has produced more than 40,000 commercial and military engines.
GE Aviation Engine Services Singapore (GE AESS) celebrated its 40th anniversary in the country. The site has grown to be GE Aviation’s largest site for engine component MRO, accounting for 60 percent of its global repair volumes.