In the photo above, you can see one of the phases in the production process of these magical mechanisms that take a stack of metal up to 36,000 feet with the passengers and luggage inside and reach the other side of the world.
Yes, I’m talking about 36,000 feet and long flight hours. Before the pandemic started, an average of 10.000 – 20.000 aircrafts were in the air at any time of the day. The safe landing of the people inside these aircrafts is as important as the metal stack rising to 36.000 feet. The actor that has the biggest role in this regard is, of course, the engines…
In order for the engines to provide such safety, they pass many tests on the ground during the production process.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Aircraft engines are exposed to water due to rain during flight. Despite the water entering in to the engine, it should not lose the thrust it produces. Therefore, in ground tests, water is sent into the engine while the engine is running and it is expected not to lose anything from its thrust.
For example, when testing Genx engines of General Electric company, 800 gallons of water is sent to the engine per minute and the thrust performance does not change. This means that the engines will run smoothly even under difficult conditions.
One of the most interesting is the simulation that a failure of one of the fan blades. One of the fan blades of a engine rotating at 3000 rpm is dislodged by an artificial explosion and what can happen is seen. You can examine the damage caused by a fan blade that broke off the CFM56 of the Southwest aircraft and stuck into the fuselage.
And finally, tests on testbed aircrafts.
In addition to all the tests on the ground, the tests carried out during the flight prove the reliability of the engine. The extra engine shown in the photo has no function for the aircraft. These aircrafts transformed to follow the behavior of the test engine in flight configuration only. While mostly retired planes are used, companies such as Rolls Royce, Boeing, Honeywell, General Electric have these planes.
You can also look gas turbine engine quiz.