Geekery: The Largest Jet Engine Ever Built

jet engine ge9x

GE’s next generation jet engine is huge… and not just because of its size.

The GE GE9X was developed for Boeing’s 777X widebody – it’s nearly 13′ in diameter, and weighs in at 20,000 pounds. It’s wider than a 737 fuselage. Bigger is better when it comes to turbofan engines like this. The fans do most of the lifting – the jets pull air in to the fans. Bigger fan means more efficiency and less noise.

The new design has a new carbon fiber fan blades; 3D printed parts that weren’t able to be manufactured till now; and a lean burn combustion system. The tech in this thing is impressive.

What does that get us? Two of them can suck the air out of a major league baseball stadium in under 15 minutes. It’s 10% more fuel efficient than its predecessor without losing power, and it’s the quietest engine GE has designed.

They’ve been doing component testing for five years… and they started testing the first assembled engine this week.

These bad boys are slated to be in the air in 2020.

For more info check out GE’s info page on the GE9X.

ge boeing jet engine



  • ZeeLobby

    Man, when you see every component with 50 wires hanging off it, it just makes your head hurt.

    • That’s about standard for machines that need as much sensors, controls and feeding systems.
      And most of that is assembled by hand because lot sizes are so small. These things are REALLY expensive.

      • ZeeLobby

        Yeah, no doubt. Super expensive. And here I thought I was a genius for building PCs, lol.

      • generalchaos34

        Not to mention if its a prototype they simply haven’t gotten the chance to clean things up, plus they would be constantly readjusting locations and such of each sensor in order to optimize it (people forget that computers can’t always do what trial and error can accomplish!)

    • Arthfael

      Mechanicum, dude.

    • Thomas Wisher

      Actually this is where your wrong this is a test engine it will have substantial amount of sensors then standard.

      • ZeeLobby

        Errrr. I don’t see how what you said contradicts anything I said.

  • dave long island

    Kayle from Firefly would be able to build that, given the materials..

  • wibbling

    Why are you working in imperial measurements? The rest of the world uses metric.

    3d printed turbine blades? For something that precise, with those tolerances? The specifications for the previous generation filled a shelf. You can’t just knock them off. I don’t disbelieve it’s possible I’m just skeptical they’d be used..

    • They’re an American company.

      You misread that bit – the blades aren’t 3D printed.

      • euansmith

        An Imperial Shrug, that’s about .63 of a Metric Shrug.

        Did you not say that the carbon fiber blades are 3D printed? What does this mean then, please?

        “The new design has a new carbon fiber fan blades; 3D printed parts that weren’t able to be manufactured till now…”

        • Simon Chatterley

          I’m British – Grandpa Simpson nails my view on Metric

        • That’s a list of three concepts separated by semicolons (aka super commas) – not 100% grammatically correct, as the phrases in between don’t include commas… but this is blogging, not a dissertation :p

          • euansmith

            Like wibbling I found it confusing, exciting but confusing. Knowing the lengths Rolls Royce go to to grow their turbine blades, I thought, “Blimey, Boing can 3D print carbon fibre turbine blades? Amazing” 😉

            So they are 3D printing other parts of the assembly? That’s pretty cool. I’m surprised that carbon fibre can be made with the properties necessary to work in that environment. Thanks for clarifying.

          • mannstein

            The *fan* blades are the big ones at the front that operate at atmospheric temperature. The turbine blade are 2/3rd the way from the front of the engine and operate at *stupid* hot- they make them from nickel-based alloys, or ceramics, if they can find one that works.

            Easy to get the two confused, unless it’s your day job.

          • euansmith

            “This is an engineering thermometer. it goes all the way from Don’t Touch That With Your Tongue, up to Stupid Hot.”

      • Thomas Wisher

        There is a program using 3D printing technology to “3D weld” a component back to its original or better strength. Last time I heard it was close or was achieving its goal. It is possible (FYI this was on turbine blades, I work for GE’s enemy number 1)

  • This is the promo GE did in 2014 that breaks it down a bit more:

  • Severius_Tolluck

    The prototype just made me think of making a Vulture gunship…

  • JP

    Now to bolt this sucker onto the back of a Peterbilt….

  • euansmith

    Where’s the “bird strike” test and the destruction test?