As you read this, GE Aviation is spending millions to upgrade the GE Aviation Test Research and Development Centre (TRDC) at Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Operated on GE’s behalf by StandardAero, the world’s largest independent engine MRO, the $54 million TRDC was initially built in 2011 to test the latest GE jet engines in extreme icing conditions. Since then, the TRDC has expanded its testing capabilities to include bird, dust, and hailstone ingestion by GE jet engines, plus endurance testing as well. Additional investments are now being made to replace the TRDC’s already-gigantic 800,000-pound wind tunnel and ice-crystal projector with an even larger system.
“GE Aviation decided to expand the TRDC facility so that it is large enough to test the company’s newest engines, which will be bigger than anything built before,” said Brent Ostermann, StandardAero’s Director of Engineering (CF34/CFM56). “They have been sufficiently happy with the work StandardAero does on their behalf – and the fact that Winnipeg’s long, cold winters offer a lengthy icing test season – that they are putting even more money into the TRDC.” (The TRDC’s massive enclosed facility, which surrounds the engine being tested on three sides, is located between two runways at Richardson International Airport.) Among the engines that have been tested at the TRDC are the GENx engine flown on the Boeing B787 Dreamliner, and the CFM (joint venture between GE and Snecma) LEAP (Leading-Edge Aviation Propulsion) engine that is being used on the Airbus A320neo, the Boeing 737Max, and China’s Comac C919.
StandardAero’s critically important work as a GE Aviation engine tester exemplifies the trust and respect this company has earned as a global engine MRO over the years. Much has changed for the company since it was first established in Winnipeg as Standard Machine Works in 1911. Initially, the company founded by William S. Bickell and Charles F. Pearce specialized in repairing small automotive engines, but the growing demand for aviation engine services motivated Standard Machine Works to move into this area.
Today, StandardAero has grown and diversified into airframe/engine repair and overhaul, engine component repair, engineering services, and interior completions and paint. Its customer base covers the business, commercial, general, and military aviation markets. StandardAero maintains a large presence in Winnipeg with 1,300 employees, but this US-owned MRO also has service locations across the United States, Australia, The Netherlands, and Singapore. The company has 3,500 employees in all.
The Engine Specialist
Although StandardAero offers a full range of aircraft MRO services, it is renowned for its attention to the health and well-being of aerospace engines. Despite operating the TRDC on GE Aviation’s behalf, StandardAero offers engine MRO services for all major makes and models. They include the CFM International CFM56; GE Aviation’s CF34 and LM100; Honeywell’s CFE738, HTF7000, TFE731 TPE331, and GTCP36 series/RE220 APUs; Pratt & Whitney’s F100-220/220E; Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6A, PW100, PW600 and APS2300 APUs; and Rolls-Royce AE 1107, AE 2100, AE 3007, Model 250, RR300, T56/501D, and 501K. StandardAero also services Hamilton Sundstrand 54H60 propellers.