Delta Opens World’s Largest Engine Test Cell

Delta Opens World’s Largest Engine Test Cell

After only a short 18 months since breaking ground, Delta completed construction on the world’s largest jet engine test cell at the Hartsfield Jackson Intl. Airport in
Atlanta, Georgia.

The test facility is 48 feet tall and has inlet and exhaust sections measuring 66 feet and 78 feet respectively. Their new test cell is capable of safely running a mounted, stationary engine at full power with 150,000 pounds of thrust. Previously, the airline’s largest test cell had a 68,000 pound thrust capacity. Delta says it spent more than $100 million on the test cell.

With its 150,000 pound thrust capacity, Delta says the cell will open the door to new, larger engine testing capabilities, including the Trent 1000, 7000 and XWB and the PW1100 and PW1500 variants of the Geared Turbofan. The GE90 that powers Delta’s Boeing 777-200LR fleet, is rated up to 115,000 pounds of thrust. Delta says they are committed to offering repair capabilities for newer engine models and this new facility will help manage future demand.

Delta says the new state-of-the-art test cell is the first cell built by a U.S. airline in more than 20 years. In October 2015, Delta and Rolls-Royce signed a formal agreement for Delta TechOps to become an Authorized Maintenance Center for Rolls-Royce engines. Under the agreement, the airline will provide engine services for the latest generation Trent XWB, Trent 1000 and Trent 7000, in addition to the BR715, which had already been added to engine capabilities.

Delta TechOps is a full-service maintenance provider to more than 850 Delta aircraft and their engines as well as maintenance services to more than 150 other operators, cargo operators and the military and government, through their MRO business. Delta hopes to build the annual revenue of their MRO business by $1 billion in the next five years.

TechOps leaders and employees officially cut the ribbon to the test cell in a ceremony in February. “This new test cell is not only great for the future of Delta, but for our future aircraft maintenance technicians and engineers,” said Don Mitacek, senior vice president, Delta TechOps. “The quality of work and expertise of our people are the reason why we are able to confidently invest so heavily in our future. They are really leaving a legacy behind with the new test cell and engine shop — both facilities are a reflection of the accomplishments and dedication of our people.”

The test cell complements their new 127,000 sq. ft. engine shop. “This new test cell solidifies Delta’s position as the largest and best MRO provider in North America, and will continue to allow our people to provide exceptional service and unmatched reliability to Delta and our third-party customers,” said Mike Moore, senior vice president — Maintenance Operations.