Engine Development. Part 3. The early turbofans.

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By Bjorn Fehrm


September 1, 2022, © Leeham News: Last week, we looked at the motivation to change from propeller engines to jet engines as higher cruising speeds were sought for airliners.

We learned the straight jet engine, while good for military jets, wasn’t well suited for civil airliners. It was noisy and fuel-thirsty. It was why the subsequent engine development, the turbofan, was quickly accepted by the airlines.

Figure 1. A Boeing 707 with Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofan engines. Source: Wikipedia.

  • The first turbofans from Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and GE had different designs.
  • The advantages of the turbofan over the straight jet were quickly recognized. The turbofan has been the choice for airliners since the late 1950s.

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