Saturday was a historic day for Boeing and GE Aviation. Boeing completed its first flight of the 777X powered by two GE9X engines. The airplane took off from Paine Field in Everett, WA.

“On behalf of the GE team, congratulations to Boeing on the first flight of the 777X. Today’s massive milestone is a testament to the outstanding work and dedication of both companies,” said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation and a GE corporate vice chairman. “We are proud to be the power under the wings of the 777X and provide this state-of the-art aircraft with GE’s advanced technology.”

GE Aviation has been designing and testing the GE9X since 2013. In preparation for today’s flight, GE Aviation previously conducted 72 test flights of the GE9X totaling more than 400 hours on its Boeing 747 flying test bed in Victorville, CA. To date, the GE9X program has completed more than 4,100 hours of ground and air testing, as well as 6,500 cycles.

GE Aviation is wrapping up certification testing for the GE9X and expects the engine to be certified later this year. Eight GE9X engines and two spares have been produced to support the Boeing test program. Engines for the first three aircraft have been delivered and the balance will be in Seattle in the coming weeks.

“The flight test program of the Boeing 777X with the GE9X will validate the performance objectives and advantages of this airplane and engine combination,” said Ted Ingling, GE9X program manager. “The GE9X is the most fuel-efficient jet engine that GE has ever produced, operating at 10 percent lower fuel consumption than competing engines.”

The GE9X engine is in the 100,000-pound thrust class and has the largest front fan at 134 inches in diameter with a composite fan case and 16 fourth generation carbon fiber composite fan blades. Other key features include: a highly efficient next-generation 27:1 pressure-ratio high-pressure compressor; a third-generation low emissions TAPS III combustor; 3D-printed parts; and lightweight and durable ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material in the combustor and turbine.

GE Aviation also provides the Common Core System (CCS), the Enhanced Airborne Flight Recorder (EAFR), the Electrical Load Management System (ELMS) and the Backup Generator and the Backup Converter (BUG/BUC) for the Boeing 777X.

IHI Corporation, Safran and MTU Aero Engines AG are participants in the GE9X engine program.

Image: In-air shot of the Boeing 777X first flight, photo courtesy of Boeing.