Collins Aerospace opens US$18 million Ram Air Turbine wind tunnel test facility in Rockford, IL

©Collins Aerospace

Collins Aerospace has opened a new US$18 million (£15.5 million) wind tunnel for its Ram Air Turbine product family at the company’s Electric Power Systems facility in Rockford, Illinois. With fully automated, state-of-the-art technology and enhanced quality via real-time data analytics, the new wind tunnel will streamline the Ram Air Turbine testing and certification process for Collins’ airframer customers.

Designed to serve as the small but mighty heart of an aircraft’s emergency power system, Collins’ Ram Air Turbine deploys from the wing or fuselage if a plane loses power in flight. By rotating its small turbine, the system extracts sufficient power from the airstream to allow the pilot to land the aircraft.

The new wind tunnel will use a powerful fan to create a wind-speed of up to 170 knots to simulate an in-flight power loss during the testing process. It will have the ability to test Collins’ full range of Ram Air Turbines for business, regional, single-aisle, wide-body and military aircraft.

The new facility will complement the plant’s two existing wind tunnels, increasing the site’s overall testing capabilities and providing greater flexibility to meet customer demand. Since Collins’ largest Ram Air Turbines can weigh up to 400 pounds, the new wind tunnel design will also make it easier for employees to mount and test them more ergonomically.

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