Feature Story

Finding better fuel efficiency

Product improvement happens regularly at The Boeing Company. A great example of that is the Performance Improvement Package, or PIP, currently being tested on the GEnx-2B engines used on the 747-8. "It all has to do with performance improvement on nautical mileage," said Mike Query, with Boeing Test & Evaluation, Flight Test Operations.

In other words, better fuel efficiency. PIP engines include modifications like an all-new low-pressure turbine, and an added compressor. Along with the engines is an upgrade to the airplane's flight management computer. Enabling the aircraft to take full advantage of its advanced design to deliver greater fuel efficiency.

But the new engines can't become a reality without thorough testing. One such test is known as water ingestion; where up to 700 gallons of water per minute is shot into a running engine.  "Water ingestion testing involves simulating an intense rainstorm. These are once in a lifetime rainstorms," said GE test engineer, Jason Mickey.

Water ingestion, along with numerous flight tests is currently being conducted with a goal of reaching two percent fuel improvement. Testing is estimated to take 3 months.