Don’t let anyone tell you different: Size matters.
So it’s only fitting that a monster plane deserves a monster engine. And that’s exactly what Boeing’s 747 test aircraft got when GE Aviation successfully completed the first flight test of its GE9X engine—the largest of any commercial engine in production—over California’s Mojave Desert last month.
The specs are no small affair: With a 134-inch diameter front fan and carbon fiber blades, the GE9X is approximately the same width and height as the fuselage of a Boeing 737. But the real power lies in its 100,000-pound thrust engine. Just how impressive is 100,000 pounds of thrust? For comparison, a space shuttle’s main engine produces 375,000 pounds. It’s also the quietest, per-pound-of-thrust. We just said thrust a lot.
The engine also uses 3D printed components, composite materials, redesigned fan blades and air routing to deliver a staggering 10 percent increase in fuel efficiency without sacrificing power or reliability. We’ll see the GE9X power Boeing’s new 777x long-haul wide-body passenger in commercial skies by 2020.
Maybe they should change the name to GE9XXXL?