EVENDALE, OH - GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), announced the GE90 engine family have reached 40 million flight hours, with more than 1,725 GE90 engines flying with 63 operators, since entering service in 1995. 

Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90/GE9X program, said: The GE90 engine is quickly accumulating flight hours as we deliver record number of GE90-powered Boeing 777 aircraft to our customers.

“The engine achieved 20 million flights hours in 2010, but doubled that number in just four years while retaining its 99.98% reliability rate.” 

“Hundreds of GE90-115B design practices will continue to be modified based on experience to inform the GE9X design.

“These practices include combustion, fan blades, turbine loading, how air is delivered to the turbine, managing the clearance control system, and achieving performance retention and durability. 

“Today, we are now looking at novel new design approaches to eliminate the impact of dust accumulation in hot section engines to further improve engine durability.

“The GE90-115B has been one of GE’s great technical achievements, and gives us great confidence and enthusiasm for the GE9X program.”

Production rate for the GE90 engine increased from 180 engines in 2012 to 220 engines in 2013, with 230 engines scheduled for delivery in 2014. The engine backlog has grown to more than 600 engines.

Over the past decade, GE has invested about $50 million annually on GE90-115B component improvements, from the front composite fan blades to the lower-pressure turbine blades in the back of the engine.  Many of these features are being incorporated into the new GE9X engine design.   

The GE9X engine will be in the 100,000 lbs. thrust class, features include a 133” diameter composite fan case and 16 composite fan blades; next-generation 27:1 pressure ratio 11-stage high pressure compressor; a 3rd-generation TAPS (twin annular pre-swirl); and ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material in the combustor and turbine. 

The GE9X compressor ratio of 27-to-1 will exceed the GE90-115B, having a larger, higher-flow fan. Since launching on the Boeing 777X last year, 600 GE9X engines were ordered by six operators.

Technology maturation testing for the GE9X engine continues this year, with GE investing $300 million on key component testing. The first full core test is scheduled for 2015. The first engine will test in 2016 with flight testing on GE’s flying testbed anticipated in 2017. Engine certification is scheduled for 2018.