Collins Aerospace has opened a new $18 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 windspeed 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, widebody 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.
“Collins’ Ram Air Turbines have helped save more than 2,400 lives over the past five decades,” said Eric Cunningham, vice president, Electric Power Systems for Collins Aerospace. “Our new wind tunnel will help ensure we continue to meet our customers’ delivery expectations for this lifesaving product in the most efficient manner, while providing our employees with the most modern and ergonomic set up available. This $18 million investment embodies our long-term commitment to our Rockford facility and our Rockford community.”
“Collins Aerospace is a key component in making Rockford a leading aerospace hub in the country,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. “Its continued investment in its facilities and its people locally make it an incredible asset to our entire community.”