Thursday, September 19, 2002

GE engine gives lift to business




By Mike Boyer, mboyer@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The GE90-115B, the largest and most powerful jet engine developed by GE Aircraft Engines, completed its first flight Wednesday over Mojave, Calif.

        The 2-hour, 13-minute flight on GEAE's modified 747 test jet is the first of 30 flight tests on the big new engine, which is to enter service in 2004 as the exclusive power plant on the longer-range Boeing 777-300ER and 777-200LR.

        Development of the 115B, which achieved record thrust of 122,965 pounds in ground tests at GEAE's Peebles, Ohio, test operation, reinvigorated the GE90 engine program. It had been plagued by high costs and few orders during much of the 1990s. GEAE introduced the first GE90 in 1995.

        GEAE expects that the technologies used in the new engine will be incorporated in many of its future engines.

        Since launching the 115B, the GE90 has landed orders valued at more than $2 billion from customers including Air France, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airway and EVA Air.

        “The engine performed flawlessly during its first flight,” Chaker Chahrour, GE90 project general manager, said. “The engine is on track to support the first flight aboard Boeing's 777-300ER, which will occur early next year.”

        During the first flight, the engine, mounted on the left inboard position of the Boeing 747, completed several throttle and performance tests.

        GEAE modified the 747 to handle the engine's higher thrust and added a new flight inlet and cowling for the engine fan, which has a diameter of 10 feet, 6 inches.

        The new engine will be assembled at GEAE's Durham, N.C., plant.

       



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