GE Takes the World's Largest Jet Engine on a Test Flight

Sunday, 18 March 2018 - 3:52PM
Technology
Sunday, 18 March 2018 - 3:52PM
GE Takes the World's Largest Jet Engine on a Test Flight
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GE Aviation
In an attempt to redefine what a "jumbo jet" is, GE Aviation (part of the broader General Electric company) is working on massive new aircraft engine.

Called the GE9X, it's considered to be the world's largest jet engine and its impressive stats would suggest as much: it'll have over 100,000 pounds of thrust, carry a front fan measuring at 11.2 feet in diameter, and looks about as wide as a Boeing 737. It took a lot of power to get this into the air, but GE completed a successful test flight this past week.

See the plane in action below:



The engine itself is on track to power planes for Boeing, who wants about 700 of these engines for their upcoming 777X series of planes. Even the smallest of those planes will carry 335 passengers, and some potentially larger models could carry close to 450 passengers, making an engine like this a seemingly worthwhile purchase for them. 

These 777X planes won't be flying until 2019, and GE Aviation plans to have their GE9X engines certified for flight by that time. The general manager of the GE9X program, Ted Ingling, said the following in a press release from GE Aviation:

Opening quote
"The GE9X and Victorville teams have spent months preparing for flight testing of the engine, and their efforts paid off today with a picture-perfect first flight. Today's flight starts the beginning of the GE9X flight test campaign that will last for several months, allowing us to accumulate data on how the engine performs at altitude and during various phases of flight."
Closing quote


And if Boeing isn't the only customer, this engine could potentially pave the way for larger planes in general - assuming the GE9X engine is properly certified, since it's only successfully flown once at this early stage. And we're hesitant to say that larger passenger planes will make it easier to book a flight in the next few years, since airlines always find a way to avoid passing on savings to the customer. But hey, it's possible.



In the meantime, it's interesting to see some good news about commercial planes for once. Typically, these sorts of improvements in plane technology tend to be reserved for impressive military planes that most people will never get to fly on.
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