Aircraft Engine Test CellThe world’s largest aircraft engine test cell is in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), home of the upcoming MRO Americas 2019 show for the commercial air-transport maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry. Delta TechOps, a division of Delta Airlines and a full-service MRO, recently opened a $100 million test cell at its Atlanta facility that’s capable of running a jet engine at 150,000 lb. thrust. That’s more thrust than the GE Aviation GE90 engine, which powers Delta’s Boeing 777-200 LR fleet, can produce.

“This test cell is a vote of confidence in Delta TechOps,” said Ed Bastian, Delta Airlines CEO, in an article published at MRO-Network.com. The new test cell nearly doubles the MRO’s thrust-testing capacity and complements other technology investments. For example, Delta TechOps is ramping up a hot-section repair shop while continuing to introduce additive manufacturing capabilities. Known also a 3D printing, additive manufacturing can make replacement parts faster and more efficiently than traditional methods.      

Aircraft Engine Test Cell Clients

Delta’s investment in the world’s largest aircraft engine test cell will provide Delta TechOps with the ability to test and maintain powerplants that haven’t even been designed yet. Yet the benefits are already apparent. Partly because of Delta’s technology investment, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney have signed 25-year contracts with the Atlanta-based MRO. “This isn’t about engine maintenance,” says Don Mitacek, Delta TechOps Senior VP. “It’s about Delta people getting together and making it happen.”

In 2018, Delta became a Rolls-Royce authorized maintenance center. Today, Delta TechOps supports the three main types of Rolls-Royce aircraft engines: the  Trent 1000, the Trent 7000, and the Trent WXB.

  • The Trent 1000 powers the Boeing 787 and delivers 53,000 to 75,000 lb. thrust.
  • The Trent 7000 powers the Airbus AAA330neo and provides 68.000 to 72,000 lb. thrust.
  • The Trent WXB powers the A350 and delivers 75,000 to 97,000 lb. thrust.

Delta TechOps is also part of Pratt & Whitney’s MRO network. A subsidiary of United Technologies (UTC), this original equipment manufacturer (OEM) makes geared turbofan engines, including the GFT engine for the Airbus A220s, which is in production, and the A31neos, which is on-order.