a plane on the runway
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The GE9X engine could swallow a 737 whole, and not even burp…

There’s a new kid on the block in Everett, Washington, and not only is it pretty sharp, it’s a big kid too. The Boeing 777X in a word, is colossal. Not far away, the Boeing 737 is the most successful commercial aircraft in the history of commercial aircraft, but its future is quickly being dwarfed by the latest and greatest in the Boeing fleet, the 777X. Not the fuselage, just the engines…

a close up of a planeThe GE9X, is the newest generation of GE90 engines from General Electric and is the largest commercial aircraft engine ever assembled. The current GE90, used on Boeing 777 aircraft for the likes of Etihad, Swiss, British Airways and Cathay Pacific is the current most powerful thrust machine in commercial service, but this new wind tunnel is even bigger. Just how large? At 13 feet in diameter, give or take a few inches, it’s actually larger in circumference than the body of the single aisle Boeing 737 fleet. Yeah, the plane you see on Southwest, American and Ryanair. The GE9X could swallow a Ryanair 737 whole, and likely wouldn’t even burp. See for yourself…

With 100,000 pounds of thrust a piece, two of these remarkable engines will be plenty of thrust to power the 777X as it graces the skies in the near future for launch customers Emirates and Lufthansa in 2020. In fact, the first plane has been assembled and engines have now been added, with test flights soon to begin.

a close-up of a wing
Boeing 777X folding wing tip.

Intriguingly, the GE-90 predecessor currently flying will actually remain more powerful than this new modern marvel by around 15,000 LBS of thrust. The reason why: the new engines offer far greater fuel efficiency and much less noise thanks to composite 3D printed materials and larger fan blades. By reducing weight with previously unattainable materials, the engines are able to draw more air, which greatly improves the efficiency and noise part.

GE9X Boeing 777X
Boeing 777X interior mock up.

Here’s where things get cool, or rather, hot. To achieve these greater pressure ratios, reduce weight and decrease the number of fan blades, General Electric created state of the art carbon fiber fan blades and ceramic matrix composite materials for the other parts of the engine, to cope where things get seriously hot. Years of testing have already proven the viability (and safety) of these beasts.

a large airplane on a runway
GE9X engine testing on a Boeing 747. Note the size difference!

The Boeing 777X is one of the most highly regarded and anticipated aircraft launches in recent history and will bring welcome competition to the delights found on the Airbus A350-1000. The aircraft is amongst the biggest and strongest in the skies, with wings so wide they need to be folded up for taxi. Considering the A380 taxis around airports without issue, that’s quite a bold statement from Boeing.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I would love to see the GE 9x’s efficiency translate to other air frames. I would love a new variant of 727 with two of these rear mounted :p

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