Flying a Glider at the Edge
In 2006, two pilots flew a glider more than
50,000 feet using only mountain winds for
thrust. Today, the
team is looking to
fund a new glider
to set the altitude
over 90,000 feet
Engineering Newswire 70: NASA
Brings Back the Pumpkin Suit
In this episode of Engineering Newswire,
the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory tests a
worn by shuttle astronauts for use by a
future Orion spacecraft crew.
The Race is On & the U.S.
China’s Jade Rabbit rover is currently
exploring the moon’s surface, and near-
ly 300 feet
below, with an
India has plans
to put a man
on the moon by
2017 — before
China’s already behind schedule for 2020.
The question is, Why all the sudden inter-
est in space exploration?
that allows us to test engines
faster because we don’t have
to wait," GE aerospace engineer, Jose Gonsalez says.
"The perforated sheet serves
to attenuate streak-wise flow
unsteadiness, while the honeycomb structure provides transverse flow uniformity."
The Sphere of Turbulence
isn’t the only structure floating around GE’s Peebles Test
Operation facility. To help create simulations of everything
from minor turbulence to hurri-cane-force winds, GE employs
a 55-foot wind tunnel to put
engines through the ringer.
Based on a design originally created by
Boeing engineers Ulrich W. Ganz and Paul
C. Topness for noise level tests, the Sphere
is attached to an engine’s intake for smooth,
unaltered airflow. Providing a controlled
testing environment is vital for proper FAA
certification and component development.
Reducing variation in thrust and fuel con-
sumption data is essential to safety and
efficiency testing, and as the company plans
to start using biofuels, the data escalates
in importance. Gonsalez says in a state-
ment released by the company, "You take
wind-induced inlet airflow variation out of
the picture. You don’t want that as a variable
when you collect performance data across
many days under different conditions."
Before using the TCS, engineers had wait
for a calm, clear day, which significantly
slowed development. "When there is a lot
of sunshine and convective heating from
the sun, you can better deal with the vari-
able wind conditions caused by them and
expand your allowable wind envelope,"
Gonsalez says. "We can run more tests
Though the testing process for jet engines
is rigorous, and can even be rudimentary at
times, it is far from mundane.
"There is no official order of testing - it
depends on the program. We complete
testing on an as available schedule, one
test doesn’t need to come before another,"
GE’s engines are reaching record production levels, which has led to the company’s
use of multiple TCS structures and investments in other testing equipment to speed
the development process.
Matthew Benvie explains, "Overall deliveries of all engine models will rise to more
than 1,600 in 2014, compared with over
1,200 in 2012 and 1,400 in 2013. Many of
these engines are completely new engines,
which is where the TCS dome comes in."
With the expected increase, GE plans to
build more Spheres of Turbulence, as well
as other testing components. PDD
At GE’s Winnipeg, Canada facility, engines are
tested in - 8°F weather. Seven fans, operating
with 250 HP each, blow 2,800 pounds of cold
air per second at a suspended engine. Photo: GE