Collins Aerospace recently broke ground on a new wind tunnel that will help streamline the testing process for its Ram Air Turbine product line at the company’s Electric Power Systems center of excellence in Rockford, Illinois. Collins is a Raytheon Technologies business. Designed to serve as the small but mighty heart of an aircraft’s emergency power system, Collins’ Ram Air Turbine deploys from the wing or fuselage when a plane loses power in flight. By rotating its small turbine, the system extracts sufficient power from the airstream to allow the pilot to control and land the aircraft safely.
With fully automated, state-of-the-art technology and greater quality controls, the new wind tunnel will streamline the Ram Air Turbine testing process, while also improving employee safety. To simulate the environment of an in-flight power loss, the tunnel will use a powerful fan to create a windspeed of up to 170 knots. The new wind tunnel will have the ability to test Ram Air Turbines of all sizes for business, regional, single aisle, widebody and military platforms.
“By helping pilots land planes safely after losing power in flight, Collins’ Ram Air Turbines have saved more than 2,000 lives to date,” said Stan Kottke, vice president, Electric Power Systems for Collins Aerospace. “It’s a critical product and one that we’ll now be able to produce faster for our customers and more safely for our employees once our new wind tunnel becomes operational around summer 2022. At the same time, this $18 million investment represents our continued commitment to investing in our Rockford facility and maintaining its world-class capabilities for the long term.”