The biggest jet engines ever seen are now hanging from the longest wings on any Boeing plane.
Ahead of the new 777X jet’s rollout next month, Boeing offered a first look at these jaw-dropping GE-9X engines inside its Everett assembly plant.
The engine, featuring a huge front fan with 16 carbon composite blades, each twisted into a thin, aerodynamically curved shape, is encased in a carbon composite pod, or nacelle, that gives it a diameter of 184 inches at the widest point.
The fuselage of a single-aisle Boeing 737 that you might fly on a typical domestic flight would fit comfortably within those outer nacelle dimensions.
The engine is the product of an investment of more than $2 billion by General Electric. It was assembled in Durham, N.C., and Peebles, Ohio, from parts built all over the U.S., Europe and Japan. The GE-9X is an evolution of the GE-90 engine, of which more than 2,600 have been delivered. That engine has exclusively powered Boeing’s 777-300ER since it entered service with British Airways in November 1995.
With a maximum engine pod diameter of 166 inches, the GE-90 was previously the world’s biggest jet engine but is now overshadowed by this gigantic GE-9X variant.
Because of the extra aerodynamic efficiency of Boeing’s immense 777X wing, the new engine doesn’t have to be quite as powerful as the current one, delivering 105,000 pounds of thrust compared to the 115,000 pounds from the GE-90. So the GE-9X is projected to burn 10 percent less jet fuel than the current engine.
GE tested the -9X engine in flight for the first time in March 2018, when a test model was mounted to a specially designed pylon on a 747 jumbo jet, replacing one of that test plane’s four much-smaller engines. This spring, the engines will boost the 777X into the sky on its maiden flight, commencing about a year of extensive flight tests.
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