J85 advanced component engineering group with primary responsibility for compressor design on the GE1 demonstrator engine. The hot section of the GE1 would later be used on GE’s TF39—the world’s first high-bypass turbofan engine. Gerhard Neumann, chief operating officer of GE’s aircraft engine business, established the Commercial Engines Project Operation in Cincinnati, and made Brian Rowe CF6’s project manager. The CF6 would transform commercial engines, offering better reliability and more power to American and European airlines.
The late 1960s saw demand rise for wide-bodied, two-engine aircraft intended for short- and medium-range destinations. This demand was met with the A300, an application developed by the newly formed Airbus Industrie, a European consortium created to develop and produce exportable airliners. In an exciting engine decision, Airbus selected GE’s CF6-50 as the sole power for the A300. With this deal intact, Brian forged deep relationships with Airbus and the French engine maker, Snecma. These relationships dramatically changed the course of GE’s aviation business. Brian also oversaw the development of the F101 military engine. Later, the core of the F101 engine would be combined with a front fan developed by Snecma to create a new engine—the CFM56. Brian was key in supporting his longtime friend, Gerhard Neumann, in creating CFM International, a joint company of GE and Snecma.
As the 1980s began, GE Aviation had a new business model and a new goal—to become the industry leader. Under Brian Rowe’s leadership, GE’s portfolio of engine developments and technological breakthroughs continued to grow. Brian, now chief executive officer of GE Aviation, helped convince Boeing to choose the CFM56 engine for the new 737 Classic Series, and two years later the CFM56 was selected for the Airbus A320. With these two aircraft, the CFM56 was on its way to becoming the most successful commercial jet engine in history. For his work with CFM, Brian was awarded in 1985 the Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest civilian honor. And good news kept coming. The U.S. Air Force selected GE’s new F110, derived from Brian’s original