Midlands tests GE engines

GE Aviation has placed an order with ITP Engines UK to undertake critical tests on its latest new aero engines. 

ITP will be conducting a series of tests including bird strike and fan blade-out tests, focusing on GE’s next generation composite fan blades.

The tests will be performed over the next two years at ITP’s Rugby fan test facility.


GE Aviation has placed an order with ITP Engines UK to undertake critical tests on its latest new aero engines. ITP will be conducting a series of tests including bird strike and fan blade-out tests, focusing on GE’s next generation composite fan blades.

The tests will be performed over the next two years at ITP’s Rugby fan test facility and are the latest series of tests in a long-term relationship with GE over some 20 years. ITP has previously carried out such tests for many GE engines from the smaller regional CF34 engine through the largest commercial turbofan engine, the GE90-115B.

The ITP facility, one of only 3 in the world, has a large vacuum chamber that houses the engine fan and low pressure compressor assembly. ITP’s expertise lies in the successful execution of the test. According to ITP Engines UK chief executive Craig Askew, “we have less than 1/10th of a millisecond window for all elements of the test to come together. The ‘bird’ must hit the right blade, in the right place, and the right time whilst the fan is rotating at full speed, in order to capture the event using ultra high speed digital video cameras.”

Askew, who is also a director of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, continues, “the tests provide customers with the ability to mitigate risk and explore alternative designs, demonstrating blade integrity and fan case containment. The alternative being an extremely expensive full engine test -- full engine tests still need to be carried out to finally certify the engine.”