Apache in the News
Apache Team Achieves Milestone with Installation of Drive System Test Stands
By Lisa Dunbar
Mike Goettings Photo
More than two years of work by an Apache engineering team culminated in early 2009 with the delivery and installation of two test stands that test main transmissions and engine nose gearboxes of the next generation Apache helicopters.
The 27,000-pound engine nose gearbox and 97,000-pound main transmission test stands --transported by boat from Renk-Labeco Test Systems in Germany -- were installed at the Rotorcraft site in Mesa, Ariz.
The stands are part of a $6.8 million project funded by Boeing to support the Apache Block III improved drive system project.
“This is a major accomplishment that allow us to qualify Block III transmissions for the system design and development phase of the contract,” said Ron Gilbert, design engineer and associate technical fellow.
The new test stands are used for development, qualification and eventually production support, he added. The new test stands can generate 5,400 horsepower and test the Apache Block III drive systems at speed and torque.
Development testing of the drive systems’ gearboxes began in February 2009 and qualification testing is scheduled for 2010. Project Manager Terrell Hansen said the team faced several challenges in Germany because the test stands were so complex.
The prototypes of the drive system for the Block III Apache were not fully developed, so the test stands could not be fully loaded and tested in Germany for the preliminary acceptance that was required before they were disassembled and shipped to Mesa.