(Image source: Boeing)

Boeing’s 777X finally gets its engines

Less than a year after the GE9X turbofan first flew on its Boeing 747 testbed, GE Aviation and Boeing have installed the record-breaking engine on the aircraft it was designed for: the Boeing 777X. Two massive GE9X engines are now hang under the wings of the Boeing 777-9X flight test aircraft.

With a 134-inch diameter fan, the new GE9X engine is larger than its GE90 predecessor; however, it produces 105,000 pounds of thrust – 10,000 pounds less than some GE90 variants. That’s partly due to the additional lifting power of the 777X’s 5,025 square foot wings, which decrease engine power requirements and fuel consumption by about 20 percent.

While the 777X will be Boeing’s largest twin-engine airliner yet, the company also focused on making it its most efficient airliner as well. The fan case is made from lightweight composites and the 16 fourth generation fan blades are made from carbon fiber composite material. The fan blades are made using direct metal deposition (DMD), a process where powder metal is propelled into a laser that fuses the metal to an additively produced component or part. It can be used to manufacture, remanufacture, reconfigure, repair, and restore parts. It can also extend the lives of components by applying corrosion resistant coatings.

Read more: A Phased Approach to Optimized Robotic Assembly for the 777X

Other key features include a next-generation 27:1 pressure-ratio 11-stage high-pressure compressor; a third-generation twin annular premixing swirler (TAPS) III combustor for high efficiency and low emissions; and ceramic matrix composite material in the combustor and turbine.

Read more: Boeing completes assembly of the first 777X

The GE9X are still in development and will finish environment regulation testing on the 747 testbed within the coming months. Ove 700 engine orders for the GE9X have been placed.


Three additional 777X flight test airplanes will be built after the first flight test, which is currently scheduled for the first quarter of 2019. Introduction is planned for December 2019, with first delivery in 2020.


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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

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