FAA grants certification oversight to GE

Washington DC
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As the advanced turbofan engine for the Boeing 777X enters development, General Electric has received approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to manage aspects of the engine certification process internally.

As an appointed organisation designation authorisation (ODA) holder, GE staff members will replace a committee of FAA-licensed designation engineering representatives (DERs), who previously provided oversight as engines moved through the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 33 process.

The ODA approval menas GE can streamline the certification approval process “while remaining dedicated to maintaining the highest levels of safety through complete compliance with all applicable government regulatory standards”, the company says.

The timing of GE’s ODA approval follows a year a half in which political debates about the size and shape of the federal budget have forced several government shutdowns, including one last October that resulted in furloughs of hundreds of FAA certification engineers.

GE, however, says that it has been seeking ODA approval for several years “due to the sheer volume of certification activity” required by the company.

The next major task under the ODA approval is certification of the GE9X for the 777X family by May 2018.

The GE9X will feature high-temperature ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials inside the engine core. CFM International is using CMCs in stationary components called shrouds in the first stage of turbine blades behind the combustor. GE is considering using CMCs in stationary components and rotating turbine blades inside the GE9X.