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Oshkosh: The ‘Experience of a Lifetime’ for Two GE employees

September 04, 2019 | by Nick Hurm

Fred Barberie and Roy Daniels fit the mold of thousands of experienced GE Aviation employees around the world that have dedicated their careers to advancing the aircraft industry. Both men have pride in what they do but rarely get an opportunity to take time and appreciate the finished result of their work. 

Barberie, a performance engineer in Evendale, Ohio, has been a part of numerous military aircraft programs over the span of his career. Daniels joined GE Aviation Batesville in Mississippi soon after it opened in 2009 and is a technical associate building composite fan cases for GE’s newest commercial engines, including the GEnx, GE9X and CFM LEAP.

As part of GE Aviation’s 100 Flight program, Barberie and Daniels were selected to spend a July weekend attending the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

EAA AirVenture has evolved in its 67 years of existence from a small fly-in dedicated to homebuilt airplanes and its builders to one of the world’s biggest airshows. More than 640,000 people and 10,000 aircraft attended the 2019 show. Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport was in fact the world’s busiest airport during the show with 127 takeoffs and landings per hour. Aircraft ranging from the biggest military tankers to the smallest flying fleas came to the event, and GE Aviation was well represented.

UPS brought its new Boeing 747-8F equipped with GE Aviation’s GEnx-2B engines. Next to the 747 was United’s Boeing 787-8 with GEnx-1B engines. Also in the center of Boeing Square was plenty more GE power. Aircraft included an A-10 Thunderbolt II (TF-34), a C-5M Super Galaxy (CF6-80C2), Boeing AH-64 Apache (T700) and KC-135 Stratotanker (CFM56/F108). The field also included some of GE Aviation newest business and general aviation engines, including the HondaJet (GE Honda HF-120), the Thrush 510G (H Series turboprop) and the Nextant G90XT (H Series turboprop).

Barberie used the opportunity during his trip to speak to some of the crew members that fly some of the products he has worked on. “Hearing all the positive feedback from the air crews who fly our engines was really heartening and reinforces the message behind our brand as well as all the hard work of the thousands who make that a reality,” he said.

The 2019 GE-sponsored Fireworks show Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Not far from Boeing Square was GE’s chalet, where Barberie and Daniels toured soon after arriving. Inside were mock-ups of GE’s next-generation products and technologies, including the GE Catalyst turboprop, as well as an additive printer and parts. “It was great seeing some of the technology that I don’t get to see on a day-to-day basis,” said Daniels. “There’s a lot of great advancement going on in this business.”

Beyond checking out airplanes, there were hundreds of seminars and aviation-related discussions during the week of AirVenture. Barberie attended a panel discussion with GE engineer executive Carlos Perez discussing the future of supersonic travel. The panel also included NASA X-59 QueSST pilot Niles Larson, Aerion CEO Tom Vice and was hosted by Aviation Week writer Fred George. All three men discussed how they are pioneering the future of supersonic business jet transportation. Perez gave his insights on GE’s Affinity engine, the first civil supersonic engine in 55 years that is scheduled to enter service on the Aerion AS2 business jet.

For both Barberie and Daniels, the GE-sponsored Fireworks show the night before traveling back home was the highlight of the weekend. The show, which took place at dusk, began with an aerial demonstration from numerous aircraft lighting up the night with spark emitters and fireworks from their planes. It was followed by a spectacular firework show from the ground. Both Barberie and Daniels welcomed the opportunity to get to know one another from across the vast expanse of GE’s aviation business.

“Being selected to represent GE as part of the 100 flights program was an honor and the experience of a lifetime,” said Barberie. “It was personally satisfying for me as well having actively worked on so many of the military aircraft on display.”
The 100 Flights Employee Recognition Program was developed as part of GE Aviation’s 100-Year Anniversary. 100 employees were randomly selected to share our history at key sites and shows around the world. They will have the opportunity to see what we do, how we do it, and why we do it, creating an experience that inspires a connection to our Purpose. Employees will see how their work directly impacts our business and the world first-hand while experiencing our rich culture and history.

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GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.