Tag Archives: Jet engine

Updates from GE

Air Blockchain: This App Could Help The Airline Industry Recover Faster
By Brett Nelson – The aviation industry has weathered severe turbulence before — consider the oil crises in the 1970s and 9/11 — but the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted damage of a different magnitude.

The number of passengers per year, on a steep climb for the last decade, has plummeted so dramatically in recent months that it looks like someone fell asleep plotting the graph: In 2020, the number of worldwide passengers will drop by anywhere from 2.3 billion to 3.1 billion — between 40% and 53% of seats offered by airlines — erasing $300 billion to $400 billion in their revenues, according to estimates in a June 5 report from the International Civil Aviation Organization.

As planes are once again getting ready to taxi down the runway, the industry is enlisting powerful new technologies like blockchain to help passengers feel safe and get to their destinations as soon as possible.

Take, for example, a new mobile application developed by GE Aviation with TE-FOOD, a company that uses blockchain to track goods moving through the food supply chain. The aviation app is using blockchain to help monitor whether planes, crews and passengers have cleared specific health and cleanliness checks before takeoff. The solution, enabled by Microsoft Azure, is available now, and demonstrations are underway with airlines, airports and industry groups.

“GE Aviation’s business model is predicated on airlines flying GE engines,” says David Havera, general manager of GE Aviation’s blockchain solutions. “Therefore we are doing everything we can to get passengers back into the air as soon as possible.”

Blockchain technology is the highly secure, record-keeping framework beneath cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but it has myriad other applications, too. With blockchain, companies can store and trace a virtually infinite number of digital records, as if stringing together unique chains of building blocks. more>

Updates from GE

Going For Great: In A Deal Valued At $6.5 Billion, GE Jet Engines Will Power American’s New Dreamliner Fleet
By Tomas Kellner – American Airlines, which helped launch GE into commercial aviation 45 years ago, said it would power 47 additional new Boeing 787 with GE Aviation’s GEnx-1B engines. The $6.5 billion deal includes a 20-year service agreement. This order follows a previous order for 42 such planes placed several years ago.

Airlines have ordered more than 2,000 GEnx engines since 2004, when Boeing selected the model for its 787 Dreamliner jets. Eager to save weight and improve efficiency, GE engineers took the GE90, the world’s most powerful jet engine developed a decade earlier, and remodeled it.

The GEnx has already entered the record books. In 2011, a GEnx-1B-powered Dreamliner flew halfway around the world on a tank of gas, then finished the job on the next tank. The journey set a weight-class distance record for the 10,337-nautical mile first leg and a record for quickest around-the-world flight at an astonishing 42 hours and 27 minutes.

What’s next? GE engineers could upgrade the engines with space-age materials called ceramic matrix composites, or CMCs. CMCs can handle temperatures as high as 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit and withstand the punishing forces inside the engines. more>

Updates from GE

By Yari M. Bovalino – A few years ago, scientists working in GE labs in upstate New York came up with a cool idea for fixing broken parts. Literally. Calling the approach “cold spray,” they shot tiny metal grains from a supersonic nozzle at aircraft engine blades to add new material to them without changing their properties.

Anteneh Kebbede, manager of the Coatings and Surface Lab at the GE Global Research Center, who helped developed cold spray, said the technology can build whole new parts with walls as thick as 1 inch or more. “For manufacturers, the potential benefits are enormous,” Kebbede says. “Imagine being able to restore an aging part to its original condition with a tool that looks like a spray gun.” It is “like a fountain of youth for machine parts.”

GE engineers have already taken a dip. Earlier this year, engineers at the GE Aviation subsidiary Avio Aero started testing the technology in Bari, Italy. Last month they used it to repair the first part: a gearbox from the world’s most powerful jet engine, the GE90. more>

Updates from GE

The Aviator: How A Young Pilot Became A Top-Flight 3D-Printing Engineer

By Maggie Sieger – At 15, Josh Mook got a job refueling planes and handling bags at a small airport near his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. He’d work eight hours a day after school, then blow his earnings every Saturday taking flying lessons. “I couldn’t even drive myself there,” Mook recalls. “But I was flying solo.”

Mook has been jetting into the unknown ever since. Originally considering a career in industrial design, Mook moved to aerospace engineering because it combined his love of flying with his love of math and science.

After graduating from Purdue University in 2005, he joined GE Aviation as an engineer at the GE unit’s headquarters in Cincinnati. His first big success came when he found a clever way to fix a blade durability problem in a jet engine high-pressure compressor.

Additive manufacturing methods like 3D printing build parts from the ground up, layer by layer, by fusing together metal powder or plastics. The technology is suitable for prototyping and custom production, but GE is also using it to make production parts that would be difficult to manufacture using traditional methods. more> https://goo.gl/psf2a9

Updates from GE

Back To The Future: This Plane Will Make The Jet Set Feel Supersonic Again
By Tomas Kellner – The Concorde, the iconic pointy-nosed supersonic jet that shuttled passengers between Paris, London, New York and other choice destinations, landed for the last time 14 years ago, after 27 years in service. The only civil supersonic airplane to enter service apart from Russia’s TU-144 jet, the plane was never replaced.

“The Concorde was successful from a technical standpoint, but in terms of economics, it was too expensive to operate, its range was limited, it was noisy and its fuel consumption was high,” says Jeff Miller, vice president of marketing at the U.S. aircraft design firm Aerion.

But engineers at Aerion are working to change that. They’ve spent the last 15 years developing AS2, a supersonic jet that could carry up to 12 people in high comfort from London to Seattle, Miller says. “We’ve been focusing on improving efficiency so we can lower the cost of operations and extend the range of the plane so it’s not limited to just barely getting across the Atlantic,” he says. “Now you’ve got an airplane that will really take you places.” more> https://goo.gl/fsVmmR

Updates from GE

GE Just Turned the World’s Most Powerful Jet Engine Into A 65-Megawatt Power Plant
By Tomas Kellner – GE is taking the world’s largest jet engine and turning it into a power plant. The machine’s beating heart comes from the GE90-115B, which is the largest and most powerful jet engine, capable of producing 127,900 pounds of thrust, according to Guinness World Records. The electricity generator, which GE calls LM9000, will be able to generate a whopping 65 megawatts — enough to supply of 6,500 homes — and reach full power in 10 minutes.

The technology is also a good example of what GE calls the GE Store — the system of sharing technology, research and expertise among its many businesses. Today, aeroderivatives power towns and factories but also oil platforms and ships. more> https://goo.gl/dSwnhF

Updates from GE

How Grounded Jet Engines Are Powering Indonesia’s Pearl Paradise
By Mark Egan&Tomas Kellner – “The country’s geography creates a special set of challenges,” said Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power, during his recent visit to the capital, Jakarta. “You can’t just build big power plants and string wires across the sea.”

Instead of building conventional power plants, which can take years, his business recently deployed on Lombok two “fast power” units. These truck-mounted mobile gas turbine generators can start producing more than 25 megawatts each in less than a month after delivery.

The units arrived July 2, and when GE Reports visited the site in September, they were already connected to the grid and producing electricity. A team of field engineers working for GE were completing final environmental tests of the units, which can burn both diesel and natural gas. “Because of the archipelago, you need to have lots of microgrids,” says Matt Patterson, an Australian engineer who spent the summer setting up the units in Lombok. “That’s where you see the benefits of fast power.”

The units’ mobility isn’t their only unusual feature. The machines, which GE calls TM2500 aeroderivative gas turbines, are essentially a ground-based version of GE’s popular CF6 jet engine — the same engine that powers many Boeing 747s, including Air Force One. The mobile plants have 50 percent fewer emissions than comparable diesel equipment and can be cranked up to full power in as little as 10 minutes. more> https://goo.gl/m9cZao

Updates from GE

Galaxy Quest: We Went Inside A Plane Large Enough To Carry A Tank Around The World
By Tomas Kellner – The gigantic C-5 Galaxy military transport jet was the world’s largest aircraft when it first took off in 1968, helped launch GE’s commercial aviation business.

The jet’s first engines, called the TF39, used a design called a high-bypass turbofan, which placed a big fan up front to generate thrust in combination with a jet. GE had to test the engines on a B-52 bomber, the closest plane in size to the gigantic C-5, which can lift 130 tons of cargo and has a range of 5,000 miles at 500 miles per hours.

Today, virtually every mid-size and large commercial plane uses the same engine design, but back then, the TF39 was revolutionary. It allowed GE engineers to boost the engines’ thrust to 40,000 pounds each and cut fuel burn by a quarter compared other engines in use at the time

GE quickly saw the commercial potential and built a passenger version called the CF6. It first flew in 1971, and today, it is one of the most common jet engines in the world, powering all makes of planes, from Boeing 747 jumbos—including President Obama’s  Air Force One—to Airbus long-haul jets and Beluga cargo lifters.

GE has delivered more than 7,000 of them to 250 airlines in 87 countries. The newest versions on the engine are expected to fly until 2040. more> http://goo.gl/nAiUiQ

Updates from GE

Up In The Air: The World’s Hardest-Working Jet Engine Has Logged 91,000 Years in Flight
By Tomas Kellner – How long is 91,000 years? Go back that far in the history of the earth and the Sahara was a wet and fertile plateau.

It’s also the cumulative amount of time that the world’s most hardest-working jet engine, the CFM56, has spent in the air since its first commercial flight on a DC-8 Super 70 passenger jet in 1981.

CFM International, at the time a brand-new joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines of France, developed the engine in the 1970s. Since then, the company has delivered almost 30,000 of the engines to more than 550 airlines, with plans to add 1,700 more this year.

Today they power tens of thousands of Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 single-aisle passenger jets, the kind that ferry the majority of fliers on flights shorter than four hours.

“There are more than 2,400 CFM56-powered aircraft in the air at any given time,” says Jean-Paul Ebanga, CFM’s president and CEO.

The engine also essentially gave wings to discount airlines, which keep tight flight schedules. “The engines are ready to fire up again before the flight attendants can remove all of the newspapers and cookie wrappers from the previous flights,” says GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy.

Back in 1974, CFM was essentially an ambitious startup. GE Aviation was primarily known for military engines that powered planes like the F-4 Phantom fighter jet and the B-1 Lancer strategic bomber. Companies like Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce dominated the civilian space.

But Safran, which supplied GE with engine parts, sensed an opportunity. The company wanted to build a powerful but also relatively light and quiet engine that could crack the single-aisle market — and the Lancer’s GE F101 engine Lancer had all the right stuff.

After securing the necessary nods from none other than Presidents Richard Nixon and Georges Pompidou — jet engines being a matter of national security — GE and Safran engineers were allowed to proceed.

They used the core of the Lancer engine — the compressor, combustor and high-pressure turbine — to design the CFM56. The partners got the engine certified in 1974 and it flew for the first time in 1977, when it replaced one of four Pratt & Whitney engines on the U.S. Air Force’s McDonnell Douglas YC-15. more> http://goo.gl/evryQz

Updates from GE

The World’s Largest Jet Engine Is Already More Powerful Than America’s First Manned Space Rocket
By Tomas Kellner – Navy pilot Alan Shepard became the first American to reach space on May 5, 1961 — 55 years ago this week. His capsule sat atop the Mercury-Redstone 3 rocket, propelled by a single engine that produced 78,000 pounds of thrust.

In April, GE Aviation started testing the world’s largest jet engine, the GE9X. Last week, it hit 105,000 pounds of thrust at GE’s test stand in Peebles, Ohio. Boeing’s next-generation wide-body jet — the 777X — will have one of these giants slung under each wing.

The GE9X engine is so new and so large that GE Aviation engineers reached out to colleagues in other GE businesses with experience in building really big machines to help out. Workers at GE Oil & Gas in Massa, Italy, who build towering power plants for oil and gas fields, helped test the engine’s compressor. A massive computer-controlled mill at GE Power’s brand-new factory in Greenville, South Carolina, machined the engine’s huge compressor blades. GE calls this exchange of technology and ideas the GE Store. more> http://goo.gl/fi6ymB