To handle the massive amounts of electricity generated by the non-bleed adapted General Electric GEnx-1B engine for the Boeing 787, the engine maker has had to devise an extra large load bank modification for its 747 flying testbed, shown here in detail for the first time.

The engine is capable of generating more than a megawatt of power to meet the ‘more electric’ requirements of the 787 which uses electricity for several systems in place of a conventional pneumatic power system. The load bank, pictured in its belly fairing at GE’s flight test site in Victorville, California, absorbs the energy generated by the engine that would normally be used for systems power in the 787, and converts it into heat.

GE load bank mod 747 W445
© Guy Norris / Flight International 

 GENx 747 test bed fly by W445
© GE

The heat is then blown out of the exhaust vents pictured beneath the load bank. Tests of the load bank, completed before the flight tests could begin of the first GEnx engine on 22 February, were conducted when full. The ground and flight start power capability (165kW and 135kW respectively) was extracted and then dissipated through the newly installed device.