Inside the engine shop

A week ago, I attended the United Airlines Family Day at its maintenance base at San Francisco International Airport. Besides getting close-up views of the Blue Angels and a few United aircraft, I also was able to walk through the airline's engine repair show where mechanics maintain engines for United's Boeing 747, 757, 767, and 777 aircraft. The tour offered an intriguing glimpse into not only what jet engines look like from the inside, but also what all the parts cost.

This Pratt & Whitney PW4090 powers United's Boeing 777 aircraft. It can offer up to 91,790 pounds of thrust.

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The 777 engines are some of the largest commercial jet engines around. Each 777 airliner uses two PW4090s.
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The Pratt & Whitney PW4000-94 powers Boeing 747-400 and 767-200/300 models. It produces between 52,000 and 62,000 pounds of thrust.
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United also displayed various engine parts with their respective price tags. It wasn't a cheap date by any means. For example, this high-pressure compressor module costs only $3.5 million.
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In contrast, the low-pressure compressor module is just $1 million.
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Though this fan case was a lot bigger than the previous parts, it costs only $700,000.
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The exhaust case on the left is $200,000, but the low-pressure turbine module on the right is $2 million.
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You'll need a bit more for this high-pressure turbine module. It's worth $2.4 million.
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If you still have cash to spend you could pick up this high-pressure compressor rotor module for $250,000. When put together, a complete 777 engine costs $10 million to $12 million and a 747 engine costs around $8 million.
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Underwing

Here you can gauge the immense scale of a 747-400. We're under the starboard wing just behind two of the PW4000-94 engines. They look even bigger in their cowlings.
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Though smaller than the 747, the 777 is also huge. When inside its cowling, the PW4090 engine is almost as wide as a Boeing 737 fuselage.
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Time for the Blue Angels

The Blue Angels aircraft were parked on the edge of the maintenance facility before they departed for one of their San Francisco Fleet Week air shows.
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As the event ended, the Blue Angels powered up in front of the crowd and taxied out to one of SFO's main runways for takeoff.
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Pull!

If you were up to it, you could join a group and pull an Airbus A320 across the tarmac. The aircraft weighs only 94,000 pounds, or 42,600 kilograms.
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Photo by: Kent German/CNET / Caption by:
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