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Reflecting on 50 Years of CF6 Service

August 09, 2021 | by Deb Case
GE’s CF6 engine celebrated 50 years of service last week. We asked former CF6 leaders to reflect on the engine and what it means to GE Aviation and to them personally.

Roger Seager
Retired GE Aviation President of China and Vice President of Sales and former CF6 General Manager

The CF6 is literally the foundation of GE Aviation's commercial engine business as we know it today. The engine was ubiquitous to this industry. Airlines would operate multiple CF6-powered aircraft, reconfiguring the engine change hardware to swap the engine between different aircraft in their fleet. This versatility serves as a testament to the incredible vision, innovation, grit, and determination of former GE Aviation leaders who create an engine that continues to define who we are. The CF6 engine family joins a handful of other outstanding military and commercial products which define the very best of GE Aviation.

During my 34-year career with GE Aviation, the CF6 and I crossed paths many times—from my first GE role as an installation liaison engineer for the Airbus A300 to my time as the military program leader supporting CF6-powered E-4s and KC-10s to my time leading the CF6 program to my last role as President of GE Aviation China. I’ve been tempted to call it my engine, but the CF6 has had many such parents, each with their own experiences. To this day, I still feel a huge sense of ownership to the CF6, and I watch for any news I can devour about it.  It was a great relationship … happy 50th!

Duane Bentley
Retired GE Aviation CF6 Program Manager

I spent most of my career at GE Aviation working on the CF6 program as a senior engineer in Evaluation Engineering and then in the CF6 Project. Without question, the CF6-80C2 changed the dynamics in the 1980s. This engine offered better performance, better reliability, and a customer support team that addressed their needs. With the certification of the 767, the CF6-80C2 became the engine of choice, winning a vast majority of the new aircraft/engine campaigns.

My special memories are many, but they are not about the engine. They are mainly about the people I worked with over the years who made this product line so successful. With the vast number of fielded engines across so many different aircraft, airframers, and customers, the CF6 program became a training ground for many future GE Aviation executives. ,

Colleen Athans
Retired GE Aviation Vice President of Supply Chain and former CF6 General Manager

The CF6 introduced GE Aviation’s commercial business to the world. It was truly unique in that it was the first engine to have multiple airframe applications. GE continuously invested in upgrades to the engine, raising the bar for in-service life.

Customers love the CF6’s repairability, maintainability, and time on wing.  It is truly the standard by which every other GE and competitor’s engine is judged. I remember attending an event at American Airlines where we celebrated 10 years for a CF6 engine on wing without a removal. It was unbelievable.

Tom Levin
GE Aviation Vice President & General Manager, After Market Strategic Solutions

The CF6 engine set the widebody benchmark for reliability, durability, and cost of ownership. Perhaps even more impressive is that the CF6 has sustained this track record through the mature phase of its life cycle—50 years and counting.

The CF6 has played a very influential part in my career, dating back to the mid- 1990s as a Product Support Engineer and then subsequently serving some of our great CF6 operators as a Customer Support Manager. Many years later in 2014, I got the amazing opportunity to serve as the CF6 General Manager. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to lead this historic program, and I’m especially thankful to the hundreds of customers who have put their trust in the CF6 through the last five decades. I look forward to celebrating the 60th anniversary.

Chuck Nugent
GE Power Vice President of Operations and former CF6 General Manager

The CF6 engine never rested on its laurels. Instead, it kept getting better and better in terms of thrust, time on wing, and fuel efficiency. Our customers knew GE was committed to the engine no matter where it was in its lifecycle and that is why it continues to fly today.

Scott Brensike,
GE Aviation General Manager of Lifecycle Solutions and former CF6 General Manager

From when I began as an Edison engineer working on the CF6 nacelle system to my time in Customer Support with Japan Airlines who was the largest CF6 operator in the world to when I had the honor and privilege to serve as the last CF6 General Manager, the CF6 engine and I have been a part of each other’s lives for more than 25 years.

When I look back, it is incredible to see how far the CF6 family has come, how much better the engine is today than when it entered service, how much confidence and trust our customers have in the engine, and frankly how many people worldwide still are impacted and will continue to be impacted by the CF6 for decades to come.  Thousands of individuals and some of the greatest teachers and influencers of my career and life have contributed to make all that possible. It is awe-inspiring.

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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.