General Electric's GE9X Engine Looks Absurdly Huge Mounted On This 747 Testbed
The largest turbofan engine ever hung on a Boeing jet has taken flight, and if everything goes right it will be mounted on a 777X next.
General Electric's GE9X turbofan engine took to the air for the first time at Southern California Logistics Airport on March 13th, 2017. The huge powerplant was mounted on the left inboard engine pylon of the company's 747 testbed aircraft, and considering the size of a 747-400 and its big CF6 engines, its amazing that the GE9X almost looks comical in scale.
The engine is destined to power Boeing's 777X airliner and is capable of pumping out a whopping 105,000 pounds of thrust. That is equivalent to three of the F-22's F119 engines in full afterburner. The GE9X features the world's largest front fan measuring 134 inches across. That fan will be made up of 16 carbon fiber composite fan blades—each one an engineering work of art in itself.
GE9X has been undergoing ground testing since 2016, with 355 hours and 375 cycles already under its belt, including some challenging cold environment testing.
The engine will now enter into an intensive flight test program with the company aiming to achieve certification in 2019. The 777X's first flight is hoped to occur in 2020, if everything goes as planned. Beyond sporting two GE9X engines, the aircraft will bring a number of new features to the commercial aircraft world, including folding wingtips.
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