June 17, 2001
LE BOURGET - Development of the advanced GE90-115B is proceeding on schedule, with the composite swept fan blade undergoing component testing in preparation for the first full engine test in the fourth quarter of this year.Fan blade impact testing is scheduled to continue through September. Testing will include birds ranging in weight from 2.5 to 8.0 pounds. The first GE90-115B full engine test is scheduled for October at GE's Peebles, Ohio, outdoor test facility. The engine is targeted to complete 150 hours of testing to measure thrust, performance, cross-wind capability, and fan blade stress levels. In early 2002, the engine is scheduled to begin flight tests on GE's 747 flying testbed at Mojave, California.The GE90-115B is scheduled for FAR33 type certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Community's Joint Airworthiness Authorities in 2002. The engine will be certified on the Boeing 777-300ER in early 2003 and enter service with Air France in September of that year. In addition to Air France, Japan Airlines, All Nippon, EVA, International Lease Finance, and GE Capital Aviation Services have ordered a total of 49 firm 777 longer-range aircraft.The GE90-115B, the world's most powerful turbofan engine, is the exclusive powerplant for Boeing's longer-range 777-200 and -300 twinjets. In addition to the swept fan blades, the engine also features a high-efficiency high-pressure compressor (HPC), and greater torque capability in the fan mid-shaft.The GE90-115B's high-flow swept fan blades are manufactured from the same materials (fibers and resin system), and by the same process, as current GE90 blades. In more than five years and two million engine flight hours of airline service, the current fan blade has experienced more than 30 reported bird ingestion events, including a bird weighing more than three pounds, and remained fully serviceable. As robust as its predecessor, the swept fan blade adds approximately 2,000 pounds (8.9 kN) to the engine's thrust capability and provides better fuel burn. While the fan diameter is being increased from 123 inches to 128 inches for higher air flow, the fan case diameter increases only 1.5 inches. This design feature ensures the fan stator case, the largest component of the engine, remains fully transportable by traditional air and surface methods.The GE90-115B HPC incorporates the same three-dimensional aerodynamic (3-D aero) design as the GE90-94B engine, which entered service in November 2000. The nine-stage, 3-D aero HPC blades and vanes will enable the -115B to achieve the efficiency required to produce 115,000 pounds (511 kN) of thrust. HPC testing in 2000 demonstrated that efficiency and flow capability have met the required levels; the variable stator vane schedule has been optimized; and excellent operability and stall margin have been demonstrated.GE1014, the new high-strength steel alloy for the fan mid-shaft, significantly increases torque capability. As a result, the diameter of the mid-shaft remains the same, precluding modification of other core components. GE1014 chemistry was identified in 1996, and full-scale melt practice was defined in mid-1998. Materials property testing was completed in late 1999, at approximately the same time the first full-scale forgings were delivered. Prototype shafts have been produced and finish-machined to confirm manufacturability.