Out of Sight But Not Out of Mind: PW4000-112" Legacy Lives On

Thursday, May 21, 2015

There is a Pratt & Whitney picture that, some say, is quite popular in the lore of Middletown Engine Center history. It is of the PW4000-112" engine, with an assembly mechanic dutifully standing behind it. The engine, the picture, and the mechanic all have a legacy here.

"That picture was taken [almost] 30 years ago out in a truck well," said Tommy Musumeci, who is the mechanic captured in the photograph. "And if you have seen it, you'll see there's no gray hair. Long hair, curly hair! And today, 36 years later, we've thinned out, we've got gray hair. Just like the engine, we've gotten older," Musumeci said with a laugh inside the Engine Center.

Musumeci is one of those guys you could talk to for hours about Pratt & Whitney history. And his famous picture decorated a wall in Middletown for years.

"Thirty-six years working for this company," he said reflectively. "It's contributed a lot to my life, you know?"

He has had his capable hands on many engines, but it's clear he has a favorite. The last PW4000-112" was recently built and sent out of Middletown. While the engines will remain on wings for quite some time, it is the end of a powerful product built here that first launched in 1990.

"The engine was designed for us mechanics to work on them with less down time, that's the concept of the engine. I do go out to Boeing for field trips, and it's interesting to see our product come to life," Musumeci said.

The 112-inch version was the second derivative model in the PW4000 family, used for Boeing's 777. Musumeci now works on the GP7200 line, and said he's excited to see the birth of PurePower® production. But the impact of his work, his colleagues' work, on the PW4000 will continue.

So too will that famous picture. It still hangs on a wall in North Berwick, Maine, and he's been told it's getting new life in Singapore.

"We were the first engine to launch the 777 at Boeing. It was exciting on both companies' part. There was a lot of support for that engine. It was a big deal. New plane, new engine, everybody was excited to see this thing get off the ground," he said.