Driven by stringent noise targets, the designs of the two engines for the A380 are remarkable not only for the size of their fans in relationship to thrust produced but also for the very shape of the fan blades. No longer straight shafts of metal, these blades swoop and turn with a sinuous grace that looks, well, sort of sexy--or maybe that judgment is just the consequence of staring at too many engines in a full-frontal sort of way. High-speed turboprop blades, and lately turbofans, have ...

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