Columbia Helicopters (Booth No. 7334) has opened a new $4 million engine test cell for the GE T55-714 turbine engine, which is used in military CH-47 “Chinook” helicopters worldwide. The cell is also designed to accept future-design engines. The test cell will enable the company to do “nose-to-tail” maintenance on CH-47s.
Columbia currently operates several copies of a civil variant (Columbia 234) of the CH-47. The test cell gives the company the ability to operate the T55-714 engine at full power following maintenance before it is returned to the customer. Columbia says its new test cell is considerably quieter than the company’s existing test cell.