Virtual Tour
The Buildings
Urban Exploration
Pyestock Diaries

The Buildings

home | the buildings | cell 3 west (649) | technical specification

Looking into the Working Section of Cell 3 West looking eastwards.
05|05|07 © Simon Cornwell 2007


Cell 3 West is the largest of the altitude test facilities and was designed to support the development of large civil turbofan engines over their full flight envelope. Both connected and free jet testing modes can be configured, and icing certification tests to CAA and FAA regulations can be conducted by the installation of a spray rake that provides an icing cloud of controlled Liquid Water Concentration (LWC) and droplet size. In addition to full engines, air frame components can be tested and helicopter de-icing carried out.


The cylindrical test chamber has an internal diameter of 7.6m and a length of 15m of which approximately 6m is avialble for engine installation, the remainder consisting of instrumented inlet air ducting for air massflow measurement.


The air supplied to the chamber can be set between ambient temperature and -37°C by use of a three stage cooler if required.

The eight Air House GEC compressors used in conjunction with two additional compressors provide a maximum air massflow through the cell of 725 kg/s at ambient temperature (545 kg/s when using the cooler).

The test engine is supported in a thrust frame that utilises two shear force load cells, (one on each side of the test chamber), which are temperature controlled to ensure accurate engine thrust measurement. The frame incorporates a bulkhead arrangement for automatic connection of many engine services and instrumentation lines when the engine is lifted into position.

Special Features

To enhance the cold performance of Cell 3 West, a new air supply is to be connected upstream of the air cooler with the ability to inject 270 kg/s of dry air to mix with the atmospheric air drawn into the air chamber.

Proposals are currently being considered for modifications to Cell 3 West to allow cost effective operation as a sea level test bed. In this configuration the test engine would be mounted as for a connected test, with air drawn through the intake cooler (although this need not be operational) and exhausted locally without the requirement for the operation of the air processing plant.

Summary Of Data

Inlet Air Temperature Range Simulated Max Speed For Engine Tests Maximum Massflow Chamber Size (Working Section) Fuel Systems Altitude Max Thrust System Rating Primary Use
Diameter Length
-37°C to Ambient Mach 0.95 725 Kg/s 7.6m 9m Hot/Cold 1829 to 15543m
(6,000 to 51,000 ft)
220 KN Full Engine

© DERA 1995-2001
Taken from a DERA Brochure