Texas company builds commercial test cell

Red River Turbines, a noted turbine engine overhaul firm, is building “the world’s first commercial engine test cell,” according to Steve Woolstenhulme, president.

Construction of the $1.6 million test cell at North Texas Regional Airport/Perrin Field in Sherman will enable the company to complete the entire engine overhaul process at a single location, he noted.

Standing nearly four stories tall, the 66,000-cubic-foot test cell tower is designed to test engines with a maximum of 10,000 pounds thrust, with provisions to expand it to engines of up to 40,000 pounds thrust.

The test cell is being built to T-9 military specifications, which will “help provide conformity and ensure a consistent test environment,” said Lynn Beavers, vice president and general manager.

“After an engine goes through the overhaul process, we need to put it through comprehensive testing at all operating parameters,” he explained. “With this new test cell, we can simulate various operating environments as well as landing, takeoff and cruise power settings to ensure the engine meets all our overhaul standards before it is delivered to the customer.”

Inside the test cell bay is a stand in which engines are mounted for testing. Large, roll-up doors provide air intake and exhaust openings. A separate cab houses all of the test cell’s data acquisition equipment and includes an autothrottle configuration for precise engine test runs, he said.

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