GE is starting operations at its newly opened Engine Testing, Research and Development Center (TDRC), developed in partnership with StandardAero in Winnipeg, Canada. The $50 million site was developed after GE was forced to move its existing icing facility from Montreal's Mirabel due to expansion at the Quebec airport.
The site is dominated by a seven-fan configured translating wind tunnel. (all photos Guy Norris)
Unlike the Mirabel site, which was dedicated solely to icing, the TDRC will have the capability to perform endurance, bird ingestion and ice crystal testing. Due to the site’s broader role the TDRC, which will be maintained by StandardAero, will augment GE's main test site in Peebles, Ohio.
The first engine to run in the site is this GEnx-1B.
Capable of handling engines up to 150,000 lb thrust and 150 inches in diameter, the TDRC will initially support icing certification of the second Performance Improvement Package (PIP 2) for the Boeing 787, followed this summer by testing of the GE Honda HF120 business jet engine.
The translating wind tunnel inlet with GEnx-1B in background.
Located within the boundary of Winnipeg’s James A. Richardson International Airport, the facility is enclosed by 50-ft high noise attenuation walls, and features a 16-ft diameter augmentor tube and 51-ft high exhaust stack.
A nozzle array downstream of the fans is used to generate the icing cloud.
Seven fans are driven by 250 hp motors and force air through a translating wind tunnel towards the test engine. At full power the fans deliver approximately 2,800 lb/sec of mass flow. Cold air is mixed with hot water ejected by 125 nozzles to generate an icing cloud.
The icing cloud passes the empty test stand and overwhelms the inlet of the augmentor (below)
Ice build up on the test fixture
Fast forward to around the 45-50 sec mark to see the cloud form (below)
A quick 360 deg view around the center of the test facility
The site will help GE cope with a coming wave of new engine programs says Kevin Kanter, engineering executive of GE Aviation’s Design & Integration Systems Engineering. These include three versions of the CFM Leap engine, the Passport 20 business jet engine and the NG34 regional engine, as well as the GE-9X. “By 2014 we will have to do four or five icing tests,” says Kanter who adds the process will be aided by Manitoba’s longer winter.