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Columbia Helicopters opens turbine engine testing facility

Jan. 24, 2012, Portland, Or. - Columbia Helicopters is pleased to announce the official opening of their new turbine engine testing facility. The $4 million project will allow the company to work on a wider variety of turbine helicopter engines, and will result in the addition of several new customers.


January 24, 2012
By Carey Fredericks

The new facility, commonly called an engine test cell, is specifically designed to support the T55-714 turbine engine. This engine is commonly used in military CH-47 Chinook helicopters around the world, and the test cell is designed to accept other engines coming on line in the future.

“The building of this test cell allows CHI to provide complete nose-to-tail maintenance on military Chinook helicopters,” said Scott Ellis, CHI’s director of business development and a 20-year Chinook service veteran. “As a civilian operator of the Chinook, we can provide our customers with our years of experience on those helicopters. Now, that experience and maintenance capability includes the newest engine model installed in the aircraft.”

This test cell provides Columbia Helicopters with the ability to operate a turbine engine at full power following maintenance. This ensures the engine meets all manufacturer specifications before it is returned to the customer. Columbia has operated an existing test cell for many years, and the new test cell will simply expand the company’s capabilities in aircraft engine maintenance.

Columbia employees expect the new test cell to be considerably quieter than the older cell. “We don’t expect our neighbors will even notice when the new facility is running,” added Ellis.

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