General Electric aerospace engineer Todd Wetzel and comedian Baratunde Thurston take us through the process of how an aircraft works, boiled down to the easiest-to-understand terms: suck, squeeze, bang blow.

Suck: The engine inhales air as the fan blades spin on the front.

Squeeze: The air is funneled into a pressurized stream.

Bang: The concentrated air is mixed with fuel and ignited.

Blow: The air blown out the back produces thrust.


The GE90-115B, on an American Airlines 777-300ER. Photo by Paul Thompson.

GE makes several types of aircraft engines, including the world's largest โ€” the GE-90-115B, used to power the Boeing 777-300ER. Weighing in at over 18,000 pounds, its fan diameter is a massive 128 inches (10.67 feet). It's circumference is roughly the same as the body of a Boeing 737! The "115" stands for 115 thousand pounds of thrust it provides at sea level, from just one engine. The 777 obviously uses two of those bad boys.