Roll in the Big Engines

Technicians tested a Pratt & Whitney F117 turbofan engine for the first time at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center’s specially refurbished test cell, announced officials at Tinker AFB, Okla., site of the center. The test took place on June 13, they said. Over the last two years, engineers constructed a larger test frame to hold the 15-foot-long, 10,000-pound engines, which power C-17 transports. Reworking the test cell for the F117 also required new control software, a re-glazed observation room, closed-circuit television monitoring, and various airflow modifications, in addition to a new concrete pad, states Tinker’s June 22 release. Before the FAA certified the new cell earlier this year, the 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group was forced to send engines refurbished on Oklahoma City’s line to JB Charleston, S.C., for test runs. The new test cell “adds to our capability” immensely, allowing both in-house rebuild and testing, said Joel Williamson, a quality assurance contractor. (Tinker report by Mike Ray)