Rolls-Royce has chosen U.S. aerospace engineering company AeroTEC to modify, build, and validate a new 747-400 flying testbed, the companies announced Tuesday. The engine company bought the aircraft from Qantas Airways as part of a $70 million investment in the development of new engine technologies.
Rolls-Royce took delivery of the airplane at AeroTEC’s flight test center in Moses Lake, Washington, after it flew from Qantas’s home port of Sydney, Australia. Schedules call for a two-year conversion process, during which AeroTEC engineers and technicians will adapt the Boeing 747-400 from a commercial aircraft with 364 passenger seats to a flying testbed equipped with instrumentation and systems to measure engine performance in flight.
This contract award will allow AeroTEC to expand its facilities and create 40 additional jobs in Moses Lake, the company said.
When complete, the converted aircraft will work alongside Rolls-Royce’s existing flying testbed, a Boeing 747-200 that has completed 285 test flights to date.