General Electric’s GEnx-1B engine for the Boeing 787 took to the air for the first time yesterday attached below the left wing of the company’s 747 flying testbed (pictured below).
Leaving and returning to its Victorville, California base, the three hour sortie marks the start of an intense test and certification campaign aimed at completion in September 2007.
During the first flight the engine was carried aloft to 43,000ft (13,000m) and was tested to establish engine performance baseline for the remainder of flight testing. This will be divided into two main phases, an initial three-month period focusing on steady-state and transient performance, air-starts, combustor operability margins and throttle response, and a second, shorter phase looking at the engine control system.
Flight tests of the GEnx-1B on the 787 itself are due to begin around October 2007 with two test aircraft involved. European Aviation Safety Agency engine certification is due in the first quarter of 2008 and US Federal Aviation Requirement Part 25 aircraft certification for the GE-powered 787 due around mid-second quarter 2008.
The version under test is the GEnx-1B64, rated at around 64,000lb-thrust (285kN) for the initial 787-8 model.