GE Aviation Asheville facility contributes to world’s largest jet engine, historic flight

Image courtesy of GE Aviation

From GE Aviation:

GE Aviation North Carolina sites help world’s largest jet engine fly for first time
Also build engine components that power historic 9000-mile, non-stop flight

GE Aviation facilities in North Carolina are making components for two jet engine models that have recently made headlines around the world. The GE9X™, the world’s largest aircraft engine, lifted off for its first test flight under wing of GE Aviation’s 747 flying testbed in Victorville, California earlier this March.

On Saturday, two GEnx™ engines made a historic 9,000-mile, non-stop flight from Perth, Australia to London in an approximate time of 17 hours and 20 minutes.

The GE9X: the world’s largest aircraft engine

The GE9X, the world’s largest aircraft engine, lifted off for its first test flight under wing of GE Aviation’s 747 flying testbed in Victorville, California.

The engine that will power Boeing’s new 777X aircraft took to the air on March 13 and flew for more than four hours. During the flight, the aircraft and engine completed the entire test card and validated key operational and functional characteristics enabling the test campaign to progress in subsequent flights.

The GE9X has a direct tie to North Carolina, where the GE Aviation is producing critical components for the engine. 

  • In Asheville, high-temperature, flow path components made of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) are made. These include shrouds, nozzles and combustor liners.
  • In Durham, the team produces the propulsor assembly for the engine.
  • In Wilmington, rotating components that go into the core of the engine are manufactured.

VIDEO: Watch world’s largest engine flies for first time

The GE9X engine generates 100,000 pounds of thrust. Its front fan is more than 11 feet in diameter – about the size of a Boeing 737 fuselage. The massive fan size gives the engine greater efficiency by allowing the larger fan blades to draw more air with less energy. The size also enables a quieter ride as airflow is distributed over a greater area.

With almost 700 GE9X engines on order, the GE9X engine features a composite fan case and 16 fourth generation carbon fiber composite fan blades. Other key features include: a next-generation 27:1 pressure-ratio 11-stage high-pressure compressor; a third-generation TAPS III combustor for high efficiency and low emissions; and light-weight CMC material in the combustor and turbine.

Certification testing of the GE9X engine began in May 2017. Beyond flight testing, the engine recently completed icing tests at GE Aviation’s facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and continues crosswind testing at the Peebles Test Operation in Ohio. Engine certification is expected in 2019.

The GEnx engine: Powering third-longest commercial flight in history

On Saturday, around 236 passengers took part in a major milestone in the aviation industry when a Qantas Airlines Boeing 787-9, equipped with two GEnx engines, took off from Perth airport for the first non-stop passenger flight to London. The successful flight covered more than 9,000 miles with an approximate duration of 17 hours and 20 minutes.

Technology has made the Perth-London flight, the third-longest commercial flight in the world in terms of time, not only possible, but viable.

The GEnx is the fastest-selling, high-thrust jet engine in GE Aviation history with more than 1,600 engines on order. In addition to powering the four-engine Boeing 747-8, the GEnx engine is also the best-selling engine for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

  • The GE Aviation Asheville, Wilmington and West Jefferson teams produces critical rotating parts that are installed in the core of the engine.
  • The GE Aviation Durham team completes the hot section assembly for all GEnx engines.

Investment in North Carolina

GE Aviation currently employs more than 1,700 people in North Carolina. GE Aviation’s Asheville and West Jefferson facilities are part of the company’s Global Supply Chain, which includes some 80 facilities in 19 countries employing more than 27,000 people. GE Aviation also operates a component manufacturing facility in Wilmington.

Over the past decade, GE Aviation has opened eight new facilities in the United States. Other locations include Auburn and Huntsville Alabama; and Lafayette, Indiana. Over the past seven years, GE Aviation has invested more than $4.5 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations.

About GE Aviation

GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit us at Follow GE Aviation on Twitter at and YouTube at

About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.