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GE completes tests on GEnx-2B upgrades for 747-8

GE Aviation plans to start delivering a durability upgrade in mid-2018 for the engines powering the Boeing 747-8, the engine maker confirms to FlightGlobal.

The upgrade involvements improvements to four areas in the core of the engine, including the fuel nozzles and the second generation of the twin-annular, pre-swirl (TAPS II) combustor, the company says.

The durability upgrades also target the first stage of the high-pressure turbine, with improvements to the blades and the nozzles of the dual-rotor engine.

“The improvements will increase time on wing for the engine,” GE says.

An engine used for certification testing was visible during a 21 March tour of Boeing’s rapid modification centre in San Antonio.

The centre’s dedicated hangar contained a Boeing-owned 747-8, which was used as a testbed for the upgraded GEnx-2B engine.

GE had completed flight testing on the engine a week ago, according to Boeing. It had already been removed from the wing and set aside inside the hangar.

The engine was used to test the upgraded components that required flight testing to validate their airworthiness, GE says.

“The majority of these improvements are being introduced into production now as we await certification on the remaining parts that require the flight test,” GE adds.

The durability upgrade marks the first known update of the GEnx-2B engine since 2013, when GE rolled out a performance improvement package (PIP). Based largely on upgrades introduced for the PIP II version of the 787's GEnx-1B engine, the PIP for the 747-8 propulsion system intended to reduce fuel burn by 1.6%.

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