This article is a reminder of the degree to which development of powerplants have driven the growth of aircraft size and performance. Investment in innovation is a high risk calculation, but the returns can be substantial in both practical and visionary dimensions.
The article, which traces some of the waypoints along the engine evolution from Charley Taylor’s 12 horsepower engine for the Wright Flyer to the Redstone 3’s 75,000# of thrust, is an impressive excursion of engineering excellence. Education and incredible application of learning to practical implementation have brought technology to its daily use in aviation.
The incredible powerplant pictured above is majestic– 216 inches long and 135 inches wide with a 128-inch-diameter fan, the -115B weighs a stout 18,260 pounds. The Gizmodo.com article draws all of the lines of the GE90-115B’s impressive performance– 127,900 pounds of thrust!
Industries pass through developmental cycles. Hitting maturity and flat growth is a harbinger of a negative future. Developments like the new ceramic matrix composite material that can withstand far higher operating temperatures (up to 2,400 degrees F) REJUVENATE our business. The efficiency of this new powerplant translates to more passengers being carried with less fuel, opening new markets and/or lowering fares.
Equally, the introduction of more accurate, more flexible navigational systems like NextGen will also offer better routing of aircraft again with lower costs and greater safety. Immersed in the miasma of sequestration, it is good to glorify the marvelous innovations, from the Wright Brothers to the GE engineers, which have literally lifted this business of ours. Future engineers, pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, air traffic managers, planners, regulators and aviation professionals will persevere – creating and benefitting from – the thrust of creations like the GE90-115B.
Excelsior !!!Share this article: