The Summer’s Great Scavenger Hunt For GE’s Aviation Technology At Farnborough And Oshkosh Airshows

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The summer that just ended included two grueling but immensely enjoyable months for aviation fans, starting in July with England’s high-profile Farnborough International Airshow and continuing with the world’s greatest flying festival: the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in in Wisconsin.

While Farnborough is primarily about big business — GE Aviation and its partner CFM International received jet engine orders and commitments valued at more than $22 billion there — Oshkosh is more about passion. Although large companies like GE Aviation, Boeing, Airbus and others have booths, more than 10,000 people fly their own planes to Wittman Regional Airport, where the event takes place. They enjoy afternoon and nighttime airshows, attend plane-building workshops and catch seminars hosted by aviation legends like Burt and Dick Rutan, Chesley Sullenberger, and astronaut Jim Lovell.

This year GE Reports attended both shows, looking for GE technology on the ground and in the air. Here’s what we found.

Above: A Boeing 737 MAX 7 landing over a brand-new Boeing 777 at the Farnborough International Airshow. Both planes are powered by GE technology. Top image: The EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is perhaps the world’s greatest flying festival. Images credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

The Boeing 737 Max 7 uses a pair of LEAP-1B  jet engines developed by CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines. CFM has received orders and commitments for more than 16,100 LEAP jet engines, valued at more than $233 billion. Image credit: Alex Schroff for GE Reports.

This Qatar Airways Boeing 747-8 freighter uses four GEnx-2B jet engines. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines brought to Farnborough its Boeing 787 Dreamliner powered by a pair of GEnx-1B engines. Image credit: Alex Schroff for GE Reports.

GE’s Ted Ingling helped develop the GE90-115B, the world’s largest and most powerful jet engine in service. Boeing uses the engine to power its 777 jets. But Ingling is now working on an engine that’s even larger. It’s called the GE9X and will power Boeing’s next-generation version of the 777 planes. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

The Air Force brought one the largest planes in the world to Oshkosh: the C-5 Supergalaxy. Since 2016, the Air Force has retrofitted 52 of the planes with the new military version of GE’s CF6 engine, called GE F138. Each of the Supergalaxy’s four engines provides 50,000 pounds of thrust and allows the plane to meet new noise-reduction requirements. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

Boeing’s AH-64 Apache helicopter uses a pair of GE’s T700 engines. The Apache was present at both Oshkosh and Farnborough. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

The U.S. Coast Guard brought to Oshkosh one its Sikorsky MH-60 Jayhawks. This helicopter also uses a pair of GE’s T700 engines. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

GE got into the aviation business by building turbosuperchargers for planes like the B-17 Flying Fortress. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

The B-29 Superfortress also used GE turbosupercharger technology. Beautifully restored specimens of the two World War II-era planes were flying at Oshkosh this year. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

GE engineers designed the jet engine for the B-1B Lancer. Image credit: Rob Butler for GE Reports.

The business end of the B-1B. Image credit: Rob Butler for GE Reports.

GE Aviation’s business portfolio reaches far beyond jet engines. The company is also developing avionics systems for plane makers like Boeing. This open avionics system was on display at GE Aviation’s pavilion at Farnborough. Image credit: Alex Schroff for GE Reports.

Airbus brought to Farnborough its latest wide-body passenger jet, the A350-1000 XWB. GE Aviation makes composite parts for the plane’s wings. The brand-new Qatar Airways Boeing 777 parked next to the runway uses a pair of GE90 jet engines. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

Textron Aviation brought a model of the Cessna Denali fuselage to Oshkosh. The plane will be powered by the Catalyst, a brand-new turboprop engine developed by GE Aviation. The engine includes large sections 3D-printed from metal and electronic controls that will allow pilots to fly planes like a jet. Technologies like 3D printing have allowed GE engineers to squeeze about 20 percent more fuel efficiency out of the Catalyst, which is the first clean-sheet turboprop engine design in more than 30 years. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

Above: GE engineers also developed the electronic controls that will allow pilots to fly the Cessna Denali like a jet. Image credit: Rob Butler for GE Reports.

The HondaJet is powered by a pair of HF120 jet engines jointly developed by GE Aviation and Honda. With 18.5 inches in diameter and 2,095 pounds of thrust, it is the smallest jet engine in GE’s portfolio. For comparison, GE’s largest engine, the GE90-115B — developed for Boeing 777 wide-body planes — can generate 127,900 pounds of thrust. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

Randy Zamenak of Nextant Aerospace takes legacy turboprop planes and jets and turns them into better-than-new flying machines with GE turboprop engines and avionics. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

GE built the first jet engine in the United States and designed engines for the country’s early jets like the F-86 Sabre. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

GE workers build jet engines for modern fighter jets like the F-16 Fighting Falcon (lower left). Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

The U.S. Marines’ F/A-18 Super Hornet uses a pair of GE jet engines. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

Ashley Williams, who works as a training coordinator at GE Aviation, came to Oshkosh to recruit new workersfor the company’s jet engine factory in Lafayette, Indiana. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

The theme of the 2018 Oshkosh airshow was the Year of the Tanker. Here, a GE-powered McDonnell Douglas KC-10 tanker is demonstrating inflight refueling of an F-22 Raptor. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

The KC-10 is powered by three GE CF6 engines. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

GE Aviation will celebrate its centennial next year in Oshkosh. Don’t forget to join us. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

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