Already wearing the crown for the world’s largest commercial jet engine, the GE9X to be fitted on the Boeing 777X is now recognized as being the world’s most powerful.
American engine maker General Electric made the announcement, together with representatives from the Guinness Book of World Records.
The announcement was made to coincide with the company’s 100-year anniversary celebrations on July 12th at their aviation headquarters in Evendale, Ohio.
The record-breaking test was done in 2017
Guinness record-keepers announced that during a test run held on Nov 10th, 2017, at GE’s test facility in Peebles, Ohio, the engine developed an impressive 134,300 pounds of thrust. That’s almost as much thrust as the Soyuz rocket used to put Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into space.
In a press statement to mark the celebrations, president and chief executive officer of GE Aviation, David Joyce said:
“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 previous Guinness World Record for the most powerful commercial aviation engine was held by the GE90-115B. Designed for the Boeing 777, the engine produced a massive 127,900 pounds of thrust in 2002.
The GE9X engine was unveiled at the Paris Air Show
Since General Electric unveiled the GE9X engine at this year’s Paris Air Show, the Ohio based company has received orders for more than 700 engines.
The front fan on the engine is 11 feet in diameter and has blades made from 4th generation carbon fiber composites. Other parts of the engine are made from lightweight ceramic matrix composites and manufactured with the aid of 3D printing. Ted Ingling, the general manager for the GE9X engine program, commented,
“The ceramics allowed us to go to 60:1 (pressure ratio) inside the GE9X. 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.”
According to Ingling, new materials and technologies have allowed engineers to make the engine 10% more fuel-efficient.
While 10% might not sound like much, it’s huge when you consider that on average 20% of airline operating expenses are spent on fuel.
“The technologies I’ve worked on are out of this world,” he says. “I never have a dull moment.”
GE already has a fix for the slight flaw
Despite having a slight design flaw that is being worked on right now, GE is still on track to have the GE9X certified sometime this year.
When talking to the press at the Paris Air Show, the head of commercial jet engines at GE Aviation, Bill Fitzgerald, said that GE engineers already had a fix for the problem. He explained that it needed to be tested before the engine could be certified.
Fitzgerald said General Electric will “be in a position to complete the testing by the end of the year and have the plane fly by the end of the year.”
“We’re pretty confident we’ll get through the testing this year.”