The PurePower Geared Turbofan Little Engine That Could
October 29, 2015
The article on Bloomberg Business titled The Little Gear That Could Reshape the Jet Engine conveys the 30 year history of Pratt & Whitney’s new PurePower Geared Turbofan aircraft engines. These are impressive machines, they burn less fuel, pollute less, and produce 75% less noise. But thirty years in the making? The article explains,
“In Pratt’s case, it required the cooperation of hundreds of engineers across the company, a $10 billion investment commitment from management, and, above all, the buy-in of aircraft makers and airlines, which had to be convinced that the engine would be both safe and durable. “It’s the antithesis of a Silicon Valley innovation,” says Alan Epstein, a retired MIT professor who is the company’s vice president for technology and the environment. “The Silicon Valley guys seem to have the attention span of 3-year-olds.”
It is difficult to imagine what, if anything, “Silicon Valley guys” might develop if they spent three decades researching, collaborating, and testing a single project. Even more so because of the planned obsalesence of their typical products seeming to speed up every year. In the case of this engine, the article suggests that the time spent has positives and negatives for the company- certain opportunities with big clients were lost along the way, but the dedicated effort also attracted new clients.
Chelsea Kerwin, October 29, 2015