Rolls-Royce Runs First Engine On World’s Largest Testbed


Rolls-Royce announced on Thursday that it has completed the first engine run using its new testbed, Testbed 80, at the company’s facility in Derby, U.K. The engine used for the testbed’s initial run was a Trent XWB, but it will also be capable of testing the company’s UltraFan demonstrator, the blades of which measure 140 inches in diameter. Not yet officially open, Testbed 80 has an internal area of 7,500 square meters (80,729 square feet), making it the largest indoor aerospace testbed in the world.

“Testbed 80 will not only test engines such as the Trent XWB … but also the engines and propulsion systems of the future, which will see us take another step towards decarbonization,” said Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace President Chris Cholerton. “It’s great that the first engine test has been a success and we are looking forward to the official opening of the facility in the coming months.”

According to Rolls-Royce, the testbed represents a £90 million (about $123 million) investment and has been under construction for almost three years. The company says Testbed 80 can collect data for more than 10,000 different engine parameters along with being able to detect vibrations at a rate of up to 200,000 samples per second. It can accommodate engines capable of producing up to 155,000 pounds of thrust.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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