World's Largest Jet Engine, GE Aviation GE9X, Makes Debut Flight Touting 100K Pounds Of Thrust

GE has announced that it has a new jet engine that has lifted off for the first time. The maiden flight of the GE9X jet engine happened on March 13 and it was hung under the wing of GE Aviation's 747 flying testbed in Victorville, California for the flight. One glance at the images and you can see just how massive the new GE9x engine is compared to the legacy engines that are slung under the wings of the 747.

ge9x closeup

GE is designing the massive engine specifically for the Boeing 777X aircraft and the engine makes 100,000 pounds of thrust. The engine flew for over four hours on its maiden flight and was able to complete the entire test card and was validated for operational and functional characteristics. That means that the engine testing can progress in future flights.

ge9x flare

"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," said Ted Ingling, general manager of the GE9X program at GE Aviation. "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."

ge9x liftoff

GE notes that certification testing for the massive jet engine began in May 2017. In addition to the flight test, the engine also recently completed its icing tests at GE Aviation's facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Currently, the engine is undergoing crosswind testing at the Peebles Test Operation in Ohio. GE expects that the engine will receive final certification in 2019.

The gigantic GE9X engine has 700 orders already on the books and will have the largest front fan at 134-inches in diameter of any jet engine with a composite fan case and 15 fourth generation carbon fiber composite fan blades. The engine has a 27:1 pressure-ratio 11-stage high-pressure compressor and a third-generation TAPS III combustor for efficiency and low emissions.