Categories
Select Country
Follow Us
Oshkosh Airshow

The Greatest Airshow On Earth: The Past, Present And Future Of GE Aviation In Oshkosh

By many accounts, the greatest airshow on earth takes place each year at the end of July just outside Oshkosh, Wisconsin. For a week, the town’s Wittman Regional Airport becomes the world’s busiest airfield, drawing some 10,000 pilots who fly in their planes and camp right underneath the wing next to the runways and 500,000 other visitors.

Unlike any similar event, the airshow — officially called EAA AirVenture Oshkosh — features a wide gamut of planes ranging from home-built aircraft to the latest jets. The planes here also span the entire history of aviation, starting with replicas of the Wright flyers and Bleriot planes to mock-ups of aircraft that will soon enter service.

GE Aviation has been coming to Oshkosh for years, and there’s no better place see its products — past and future — up close. We walked around the show this week. Here’s what we found.

GE Aviation got its start by building turbosuperchargers for planes like these beautifully restored Boeing B-29s. Fifi (top) and Doc (above) are the last two flying B-29s in existence. They were both in Oshkosh this week. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

Turbosuperchargers pressurized the air entering engines and allowed planes like this Boeing B-17 to fly at high altitudes. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

GE’s experience with turbosuperchargers, which are essentially high-pressure gas turbines, allowed the company to develop the first U.S. jet engine in 1942. Called J33, it powered the first American jet, Lockheed’s P-80 Shooting Star. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

Within five years, GE was mass producing engines like the J47, which powered tens of thousands of planes, including this F-86 Sabre. The J47 was the most-produced jet engine in history. GE made 36,500 of them. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

By the 1970s, GE was powering supersonic planes like the Rockwell’s B-1B Lancer aircraft, which uses four GE’s F101 engines. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

The Lancer made a rare appearance in Oshkosh this year. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

This mean-looking A-10 Warthog jet carries a pair of GE’s TF34 engines. The civilian version of the engines, CF34, powers many regional and commuter jets, including Bombardier and EMBRAER planes. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

Northrop’s supersonic T-38 Talon trainer uses a pair of GE’s J85 jet engines. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

The same jet engine also gives extra oomph to The Screamin’ Sasquatch, a biplane that’s been turning heads this year in Oshkosh. Image credit: Nick Hurm/GE Reports.

Many passenger and cargo jets use GE high-bypass turbofan engines. This Boeing 767 arrived in Oshkosh with a pair of CF6 engines on its wings. GE Aviation is currently developing the GE9X, the world’s largest jet engine, for the next-generation Boeing 777. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

GE Aviation helped Honda develop the HF120 engines for the Honda Jet. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

In 2008, GE acquired the Czech company Walter Engines and started expanding into the turboprop market. This Thrush agricultural airplane uses GE’s H80 engine. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

Pilots will be able to operate GE’s latest Advanced Turboprop engine (ATP) like a jet. GE brought a mock-up of the engine to Oshkosh this year. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

More than 30 percent of the engine will be 3D printed, including this fuel heater. The engine is scheduled for testing later this year. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

Before GE started 3D printing parts for the ATP, it tested the technology on a T700 helicopter engine. A pair of them powers this UC-60 Blackhawk owned by the U.S. Customs Service. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

Brad Mottier runs GE Aviation’s Business and General Aviation unit, which helped develop engines for the Honda Jet and is now building the ATP. Mottier, who is a pilot, has been coming to Oshkosh for four decades, including this year. Image credit: Tomas Kellner/GE Reports.

Subscribe to our GE Brief