Boeing's biggest jet to be powered by world's biggest engine

Boeing's biggest jet has officially been paired with the world's largest commercial engine.

The 777X, expected to roll out next month, features a pair of General Electric GE9X engines under its wings. Each contains 16 fan blades made of carbon fiber that are housed inside a composite pod called a nacelle. For perspective, the width of the fuselage of a Boeing 737 is the equal to that of the engine’s fan.

While the GE9X may be the largest on the market, it is not as powerful as the GE90, producing 105,000 pounds of thrust versus the latter's 115,000. The reason the new engine doesn't require as much lift is due to the size of the new Boeing jet's wing. The GE9X was tested in March, when it was mounted under the wing of GE’s Boeing 747 test aircraft and flew for four hours.

777X Flight Test Engine Install_3 (Courtesy of Boeing)

GE said the engine will be the most fuel-efficient product it has ever developed, with a 10 percent improved fuel burn when compared with the company's GE90 engine, which held the title of world's largest engine until now. The GE90 is the power plant of the Boeing 777-200 LR and 777-300ER aircraft.

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At the time of the flight test, GE said there were nearly 700 GE9X engines on order. To date, Boeing has won 340 orders and commitments for the 777X. Delivery of the aircraft is expected in 2020.