Case study: AEDC team delivers engine testing despite equipment problems

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Engineers and craftsmen from the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) in Tennessee have completed a series of turbine engine tests to schedule this summer, despite problems with equipment.

AEDC test teams were conducting engine testing of a Rolls-Royce engine when maintenance crews detected deficiencies in some equipment during routine inspections. The machinery was removed from service to prevent damage to the engine under test, but doing this prevented the ability to test at colder conditions.

Scott Slabaugh, ETF test engineer at the AEDC, said, “We had to work closely with the test customer to rearrange their test points within the overall test plan in order to efficiently conduct testing with the plant machinery that was available.”

After expediting the delivery of the new machinery and repairing the equipment, there was just two weeks scheduled to complete the testing required at the cold conditions.

“Once the plant machinery was returned to service, we really stepped up our game and tested four times in 11 days with extended testing hours to get our customer the data they needed before the summer maintenance period started,” added Slabaugh.

Chris LaGrange, test operations engineer at the AEDC said, “This program demonstrated how AEDC’s test teams of craft personnel, test engineering, data analysis, supervision, and test operations can go above and beyond to meet tight schedules when the need arises.”

Yancee Burchett, Air Force test engineer at the AEDC, said, “Considering the vast number of factors constraining the test, the team showed an extraordinary amount of determination in acquiring the necessary data and test points for the customer.

“Whether faced with the demanding pace of summer ops or troublesome equipment, the team remained steadfast in their determination to ensure that the Rolls-Royce test was a success. It was an honor to be a part of such an outstanding team.”

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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