Defense

June 14, 2013

AEDC site of choice for unique T-6 Texan II engine test

Tags:
Philip Lorenz III
Arnold AFB, Tenn.

A frontal view of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop engine installed in AEDCís SL-1 test cell includes a special shroud to provide a simulated flight environment for the propeller. Without the shroud the propeller would create a pulse every time the blade passes at the closet point to the bottom of the test cell.

The Arnold Engineering Development Center at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., s the site of choice for a unique engine test currently underway in the Complex’s Sea Level 1 (SL-1) test cell.

The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop undergoing testing at AEDC powers the Texan II that is used by the U.S. Air Force for basic pilot training and the U.S. Navy for primary and intermediate joint Naval Flight Officer and Air Force combat systems officer training.

When asked why the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Propulsion Directorate decided to bring the PT6A-68 turboprop engine to AEDC for a nine to 10 month Accelerated Mission Testing (AMT), Hugo Heyns, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Propulsion Directorate, Propulsion Acquisition Division PT6 Integrated Product Team lead, said the answer is simple.

“The PT6 Integrated Product Team, in concert with the JPATS System Program Director, determined that an AMT would provide an early understanding of engine failures allowing time to address them before they affect the fleet, thereby assuring continued success of the PT6 engine,” he said. “Further, that the program would be better served with an AMT conducted by an accurate and objective test facility with extensive aircraft engine testing experience. The U.S. Air Force’s AEDC clearly fits that description.”

The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop engine installed in AEDCís SL-1 test cell includes a special shroud to provide a simulated flight environment for the propeller. Without the shroud the propeller would create a pulse every time the blade passes at the closet point to the bottom of the test cell.

This is the first time a T-6 Texan II engine has undergone an Accelerated Mission Test (AMT) at AEDC’s SL-1 test cell. The test represents a number of other firsts, including the first use of a propeller for loading the engine.

“This test is the first project where ATA has been contracted to provide maintenance and inspection services in addition to the installation and operation of the engine and support systems,” said Brian Knack, a turbine engine project manager with AEDC’s Aeropropulsion Branch. “We’re also doing a dynamic analysis on the rear of the engine – the auxiliary gear box. We’re trying to define the vibration modes at the rear of the engine where some parts have been failing in the field. Even though the engine is lightly instrumented, we will be measuring a number of performance parameters, including vibration, fuel flow, airflow and trending engine speeds.

“We’ll be relying on the engine parameters that are within the engine control that we’re going to be reading in addition to some test cell measurements that we’ll be making.”

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

Before testing can begin at AEDCís SL-1 test cell, Chris Rogers, an AEDC engineer, conducts a borescope inspection of the PT6 engine that powers the T-6 Texan II trainer aircraft.

Further, Knack said “This test is an endurance test on the PT6A-68 engine. It’s an overhauled engine – it’s not a new engine. We’re evaluating the durability of the engine through its second overhaul interval. We’ll be putting a whole overhaul interval’s worth of test life on this engine during this test.”

Lt. Sam Stephens, AEDC’s project manager over the test, said, “Primarily, we’re continuing this pacer engine’s life at an expedited rate. This engine is going to have about twice the [flight] hours as any other PT6 in the T-6 trainer fleet. Maintenance and durability is our primary concern [with this engine].”

During the nine to 10 months of testing, the PT6A-68 will be subjected to the number of Total Accumulated Cycles an engine would experience in flight between depot overhaul periods. TAC is a unit of measurement for major rotating engine components tracked during an engine’s operational life.

Heyns said, “The PT6 AMT is intended to provide visibility into the future of the Joint Primary Aircraft Trainer System program engine fleet, identifying and defining issues of concern which may have impact on the fleet in sufficient time to take preventative and/or corrective actions before actual impact to the fleet’s availability.”

The PT6 engine is a derivative of a commercial engine with significant operational history in a wide variety of applications – the engine was selected, in part, because of this history.

Considering the JPATS mission is somewhat different than many of the engines other applications, initial engine modifications were used to address them.

Heyns said, “For example, the JPATS need for inverted flight demanded oil systems modifications to assure continued oil flow during inverted flight. Program engineers have also identified possible sources of future failures – and will use the AMT to study them in more detail.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Acquisition community works to improve tradecraft

Everything the defense acquisition community is doing now is being done to improve its tradecraft, Katrina G. McFarland, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition said April 16. McFarland made the comments at the National Defense Industrial Associations National Logistics Forum. Improving tradecraft is something DOD would want to do in the best of times,...
 
 
B1a

B-1B software upgrade to ensure future warfighting capabilities

Air Force photograph by Ethan Wagner An Edwards B-1B Lancer takes off on April 1, 2014, to begin testing its new Sustainment Block 16A software upgrades. The SB 16A software will work in conjunction with the long-range bomberí...
 
 

45th Space Wing launches NRO Satellite on board Atlas V

The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 1:45 p.m. April 10 carrying a classified national security payload. The payload was designed and built by the National Reconnaissance Office. “I am proud of the persistence and focus of the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie

Smarter spending for Air Force acquisitions

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie Maj. Gen. Wendy Masiello briefs attendees April 16, 2014, on how today’s budget environment is driving change for both government and industry as part of the Air Force Associati...
 
 
DOD photograph by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler

U.S., Poland defense leaders find new areas for cooperation

DOD photograph by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosts a press briefing with Poland’s Minister of National Defense Tomasz Siemoniak at the Pentagon, April 17, 2014. Amid deep concerns about...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Richard Eldridge

Air Force researchers test Google Glass for battlefield use

Air Force photograph by Richard Eldridge Dr. Gregory Burnett, middle, and Andres Calvo, right, analyze a graphic representation of movement trackers, as 2nd Lt. Krystin Shanklin tests Google Glass at Wright-Patterson Air Force ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>