GE Aviation has installed a GE9X test engine on the left wing of a specially modified Boeing 747-400 test aircraft in Victorville, California. This engine will be tested alongside the jumbo jets’ three other regular engines. It’s completing a bunch of ground tests right now, and GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy told The Busines Journal, “They’re shooting for the flight tests for late December, but it will depend on the weather.”
Once the Federal Aviation Administration certification is obtained it would be safe to fly on Boeing’s biggest commercial airliner by 2020. Each 777X will be powered by two GE9X engines, which are going to be the quietest ever built with improved fuel efficiency. Part of the reason for that is that it will have only 16 fan blades (all longer and wider than conventional blades) inside its 11-foot engine case. That’s the fewest fans ever used for a widebody. Older jet engines have 24 or 30 fan blades.
Rick Kennedy seems to be ready to add the aircraft with others for training and commented that due to the versatility of the design the engine doesn’t need as many blades. GE says the GE9X will offer a five percent better fuel economy than any twin-aisle jet engine available.