THE development of a centre of excellence for aerospace-engine testing in Manitoba was beefed up Friday with a $5-million federal government investment in a Thompson facility that does cold-weather testing for Rolls-Royce Canada and Pratt & Whitney Canada engines.
The facility, called Global Aerospace Centre for Icing and Environmental Research (GLACIER), is in partnership with the not-for-profit Canadian Environmental Test and Research Center Inc. (EnviroTREC).
The $5 million from Western Economic Diversification will allow the facility to purchase equipment and develop technologies and skills to test eco-friendly aerospace-engine emissions and alternative fuels.
It will mean the facility, which conducted its first engine tests in fall 2010, will be able to do more than just cold-weather testing.
"It will mean quite a significant extension of operations at the Thompson site," said Ken Webb, executive director of the Manitoba Aerospace Association.
EnviroTREC executive director David Simpson said, "It always was able to do work out of the cold-weather season. This is going to allow it do some testing in the summer months that is a little more sophisticated than has been done in the past."
New equipment will allow the facility to do a range of emission testing and give it the ability to do high-level endurance testing that will recreate flying cycles and throttle movements typical of flight.
The Thompson facility cost about $40 million to build and Simpson said the five tests already conducted resulted in about $7.5 million of spending in Manitoba.
Earlier this year, General Electric spent about $50 million building its own cold-weather engine test site at the Winnipeg airport in partnership with Standard Aero.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.