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GE Aviation Partners With Boeing and Aurora Flight Sciences for Electric Flight Test Program Support

GE Aviation has selected Boeing and their Aurora Flights Sciences subsidiary to support flight tests of GE’s hybrid electric propulsion system using a Modified Saab 340B aircraft and CT7-9B turboprop engines.

Modified SAAB 340B Testbed Aircraft Powered by CT7-9B Turboprop Engines - Courtesy GE Aviation

On Thursday (February 3, 2022), GE Aviation announced that they have selected Boeing, and their Aurora Flights Sciences subsidiary, to support the company’s hybrid electric propulsion system development. The testbed aircraft is a modified Saab 340B with CT7-9B turboprop engines. Boeing and Aurora will provide GE Aviation with airplane modification, system integration and flight-testing services, as well as nacelle manufacturing, flight deck interface design and software, aircraft-level performance analysis and systems integration.

In Thursday’s announcement, GE Aviation’s Vice President and General Manager of Engineering, Mohamed Ali, said,

“We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Boeing to advance hybrid electric and electric propulsion systems. NASA’s Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration project is an opportunity for GE Aviation and Boeing, world leaders in aviation technologies, to show hybrid electric propulsion is real and possible for the future of commercial flight to reduce carbon emissions.”

Also commenting on the partnership, Boeing’s Chief Technology Officer and Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Research & Technology, Naveed Hussain, said,

“We’re inspired to be joining GE Aviation in demonstrating the viability of hybrid-electric propulsion technology. We’re pleased to contribute our extensive research and testing of hybrid electric propulsion systems—including a longstanding development partnership with NASA—for a project that will no doubt be an important milestone on the path to more sustainable air travel.”

Aurora Flight Sciences President and CEO, Per Beith, added,

“We are proud to contribute Aurora’s expertise in aircraft components, systems engineering, and testing to this important project. Working with GE Aviation, we will make a significant impact on the advancement of electrified propulsion for commercial air transport.”

GE Aviation and NASA previously announced the launch of a new research partnership to mature a megawatt (MW) class hybrid electric propulsion system to demonstrate flight readiness for a single-aisle aircraft. The program is part of NASA’s Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration (EPFD) project, a $260 million effort including investments from GE Aviation, Boeing, NASA and other partners over five years. Currently, plans are to conduct ground and flight tests by the mid-2020s. The program’s aircraft systems engineering and testing work will be based at Aurora’s headquarters in Manassas, Virginia, with nacelle manufacturing taking place at Aurora’s facilities in Mississippi and West Virginia.

Source(s): GE Aviation, Aurora Flight Sciences


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