ROCKFORD — Collins Aerospace on Thursday celebrated the opening of its new $18 million wind tunnel at its Electric Power Systems facility in Rockford.
The fully automated, state-of-the-art tunnel will allow Collins Aerospace to streamline the testing of its Ram Air Turbine product family with real-time data analytics.
“This $18 million investment embodies our long-term commitment to our Rockford facility and our Rockford community,” Eric Cunningham, vice president, Electric Power Systems for Collins Aerospace, said in a news release.
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Collins’ Ram Air Turbine deploys from the wing or fuselage if a plane loses power in flight. The small turbine’s rotations allow the system garner sufficient power from the airstream and allow the pilot to land the aircraft.
“Collins’ Ram Air Turbines have helped save more than 2,400 lives over the past five decades,” Cunningham said. “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.”
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. It will have the ability to test Collins’ full range of Ram Air Turbines for business, regional, single aisle, widebody and military aircraft.
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The new facility will complement the plant’s two existing wind tunnels, increasing the site’s overall testing capabilities. 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 the technology.
“Collins Aerospace is a key component in making Rockford a leading aerospace hub in the country,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said in a news release. “Its continued investment in its facilities and its people locally make it an incredible asset to our entire community.”