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USAIR DEDICATES JET ENGINE TEST CELL

 PITTSBURGH, Nov. 18 ~PRNewswire~ -- USAir (NYSE: U) today dedicated one of the world's largest and most modern jet engine test chambers at its maintenance base in Pittsburgh.
 "This new facility features the latest in electronic testing equipment and a unique monorail system to quickly and efficiently move engines in and out of the test cell," said Fred Kocher, USAir senior vice president of maintenance operations.
 Jet engines removed from airplanes for maintenance must be tested before they are put back on the wing. The engine test facility is a chamber where the engine is attached to a stationary fixture and then run to simulate conditions experienced in flight.
 The new engine test cell, which is 345 feet long, 40 feet wide and 40 feet high, is rated to accommodate engines that produce up to 100,000 pounds of thrust (roughly equivalent to 200,000 hp).
 "That's adequate to test any commercial jet engine on the drawing board today, including those that are being designed for aircraft the size of the new Boeing 777," Kocher said. As a matter of perspective, these newest engines would remove the amount of air in USAir's largest Pittsburgh hangar three times every second, he added.
 The new facility has "fly-by-wire" engine controls, including autothrottle, automatic testing and automatic data recording functions. In addition, the system will run the various engine manufacturers' intricate performance diagnostic programs.
 "Gone are the dials, bells and whistles that used to warn of pending engine problems," Kocher said. "Now the computer will simply beep-flash a warning message, and if conditions warrant, shut the engine down."
 The $12 million facility was constructed under a bond issued by Allegheny County, operator of the Pittsburgh International Airport, where the maintenance base is located. Some $1 million of the cost was dedicated to noise abatement.
 Burns & McDonnell of Kansas City, Mo., was the architect~designer. P.J. Dick Inc. was the prime construction contractor; Aero Systems Engineering Inc. of St. Paul, Minn., supplied the engine testing equipment; Kirby Electric Co. was the electrical vendor and Sauer Inc. was the mechanical contractor. Dick, Kirby and Sauer are Pittsburgh companies.
 USAir already operates a smaller test cell at Pittsburgh, which will continue to be used. The airline maintains and tests JT8D and JT8D-217 engines on site. Maintenance on several other engine types is contracted out.
 A typical test lasts four hours and consumes 500-700 gallons of fuel. Everything from vibration to thrust, internal temperatures and pressures and rotor speeds are measured and compared to established standards. Last year, USAir tested nearly 300 engines. Overall, USAir has invested some $50 million and employs over 500 people in the repair and testing of engines alone, primarily in Pittsburgh.
 "This new jet test shop is the latest example of USAir's major commitment to the Pittsburgh area. It will serve us well into the next century, no matter what engine we are called upon to test," Kocher said.
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 ~CONTACT: USAir Corporate Communications, Washington, 703-418-5100, or Pittsburgh, 412-747-5570~
 (U)


CO: USAir ST: Pennsylvania IN: TRN SU:

CD-JT -- PG002 -- 2278 11~18~92 11:00 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 18, 1992
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