Delta opens the world’s largest jet engine test cell in Atlanta

Delta Air Lines released this statement:

  • New state-of-the-art test cell is the first cell built by a U.S. airline in more than 20 years.
  • Capable of safely running a mounted, stationary engine at full power with 150,000 pounds of thrust, the cell will allow Delta to test engines that are yet to be designed or built
  • The airline’s new test cell and engine shop open the door to next generation engine capabilities, including the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, Trent 7000 and Trent XWB and the PW1100 and PW1500 variants of the Geared Turbofan

Today, Delta TechOps leaders and employees officially cut the ribbon, opening the world’s largest jet engine test cell. And while world’s largest is a nice bragging right, there was immense research, innovation and thought that went into designing this state-of-the-art facility.

The test cell, which is the first cell built by a U.S. airline in more than 20 years, is capable of running a mounted, stationary engine at full power with 150,000 pounds of thrust. To compare, the airline’s current test cell has a 68,000 pound thrust capacity and the most powerful jet engine in the world today, the GE90 that powers Delta’s Boeing 777-200LR fleet, is rated up to 115,000 pounds of thrust.

Bottom line — Delta is preparing for the future as the new test cell allows the airline to test engines that have yet to be designed and built.

“This new test cell is not only great for the future of Delta, but for our future aircraft maintenance technicians and engineers,” said Don Mitacek, Senior Vice President — TechOps. “The quality of work and expertise of our people are the reason why we are able to confidently invest so heavily in our future. They are really leaving a legacy behind with the new test cell and engine shop — both facilities are a reflection of the accomplishments and dedication of our people.”

 

The test cell, coupled with Delta’s new 127,000-square-foot state-of-the-art engine repair shop, will allow the airline and its employees to provide maintenance on and test a new assortment of engines including the Trent 1000, Trent 7000 and Trent XWB and the PW1100 and PW1500 variants of the Geared Turbofan.

To celebrate the new facility, Delta hosted a grand opening event with more than 100 employees who were integral in the development and implementation of the cell. At the event, attendees heard from CEO Ed Bastian, U.S. Senator David Perdue as well as Mitacek and Moore.

In October 2015, Delta and Rolls-Royce signed a formal agreement for Delta TechOps to become an Authorized Maintenance Center for Rolls-Royce engines. Under the agreement, the airline will provide engine services for the latest generation of Rolls-Royce Trent XWB, Trent 1000, Trent 7000 and BR715 engines.

With more than 7,000 engines already committed to the engine shop and test cell over the next 30 years, immediate next steps for the facility include proving and data validation for the cell, the commissioning of the cell with the Trent XWB engine, Trent 1000 Electric Start System installation, the Trent 1000 commissioning, correlation and production test, with the first production test taking place in late 2019.

All photos by Delta.

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