Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

StandardAero receives award

Honoured for collaboration in building aircraft engine-testing centre

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Winnipeg's StandardAero received this year's Canadian American Business Achievement Award with GE Aviation of Cincinnati for their collaboration in designing and building the GE Aviation Aircraft Engine Testing, Research and Development Centre in Winnipeg.

The award was handed out earlier this week in Ottawa, at an event attended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

StandardAero, which celebrated its 100th year in business last year, operates one of the largest independent gas turbine engine maintenance, repair and overhaul operations in the world. It has had a long association with GE as a certified repair centre for a portfolio of GE engines including those used on the popular Boeing 737 airliners.

Kim Olson, StandardAero's senior vice-president, technology, said, "It was an honour to be recognized."

The Winnipeg company does lots of collaborations around the world, but Olson said, "This really was a one-of-a-kind project."

GE designed and built the $50-million, 120,000-square-foot facility located on the northwest outskirts of the Winnipeg airport runways and StandardAero operates it.

About a dozen StandardAero employees run it now, and Olson said that number will grow as year-round testing will likely start this summer.

Taking only eight months to complete -- it was commissioned early this year -- and requiring 68,000 kilograms of concrete, the state-of-the-art facility is designed to perform icing certification testing on gas turbines engines up to 150 inches in diameter and up to 150,000 pounds of thrust.

But the centre will also develop advanced testing methodologies and equipment for GE Aviation's commercial and military aircraft engines.

As well, a publicly funded entity called West Canitest R&D Inc. (WestCaRD), will set up ancillary high-tech research projects that will assist third-party technology development programs and academic research associated with the engine-testing facility.

It is one of a few facilities of its kind in North America to perform such testing, utilizing a state-of-the-art noise-reduction system and incorporating a translating wind tunnel to enable year-round performance and endurance, ice crystal and mixed phase testing.

The partnership was nominated by the Ohio Department of Development and the Consulate General of Canada in Michigan and won over dozens of other nominations from throughout North America.

Past winners include:

-- 2011 -- Michael Rapino -- president and CEO, Live Nation Entertainment, Inc.

-- 2010 -- Curves International of Waco, Texas and Mytrak Health System of Mississauga, Ont.

-- 2009 -- Claude Mongeau, president and CEO of CN Rail.

-- 2008 -- Active Control Technologies Inc. of Burlington, Ont., and Mesh Dynamics Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.

-- 2007 -- Westport Innovations of Vancouver and Cummins Inc. of Columbus, Ind.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 23, 2012 B10

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