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Boeing has successfully tested the world's biggest jet engine

Boeing has successfully tested the world's biggest jet engine after a modified 747 took off from Victorville in California today.

The gigantic "megaplane" was loaded with the General Electric-made GE9X engine - which is expected to be used for commercial flights from 2020.

The GE9X was loaded alongside smaller engines so that engineers could test it out without risking the passengers or the crew on board the plane.

It's a big success for General Electric after the US company was forced to delay testing the prototype of the engine last year.

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The engine features a huge fan stretching 340cm in diameter and fits into a 4.4-metre nacelle. It was mounted under the 747's left wing and flown for four hours.

This was the first of several planned tests for the engine which will take place over the coming months.

Once testing is complete, the engine will eventually be used to power Boeing's upcoming 777x family of airliners.

These are set to be the biggest twin-engine jetliners ever built, with a wingspan of 71.8 metres and a total of 406 seats on board.

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It is so big, Boeing has put fold-up hinges on the wingtips that allow the plane to shorten its wingspan when it's rolling across airport taxiways.

What that means for us travellers is that the economy seats will be a cushy 46-cm wide.

"The GE9X and Victorville teams have spent months preparing for flight testing of the engine, and their efforts paid off today with a picture-perfect first flight," said Ted Ingling, general manager of the GE9X program at GE Aviation.

"Today's flight starts the beginning of the GE9X flight test campaign that will last for several months, allowing us to accumulate data on how the engine performs at altitude and during various phases of flight."

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The top-range 777-9 is going on sale for a cool 279 million when complete while the slightly smaller 777-8 jetliners can be had for 259 million each.

"The cabin interior of the 777X is inspired by the comforts and conveniences of the 787 Dreamliner, with larger windows, a wider cabin, new lighting and enhanced architecture — all of which will be custom-tailored for a unique 777X experience," said Boeing.

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