Celtech Corp. has ramped up production of T21 test stands for T56 engine prop-on testing. Having just completed a second stand for the Indonesian Air Force, Celtech has numerous T21s in manufacture, refurbishment and repair for the USAF and Allies.
C130 Hercules interest and usage is growing worldwide to support today’s large load missions. “The inquiries related to these turboprop engines are at an all-time high for Celtech,” said Shelby Clay, Sr. Development Engineer and 30-year USAF Veteran. Other aircraft utilizing the T56, AE2100, 501D and T38 family of engines are also experiencing upswings. These planes include the P-3 Orion, EP-3 Aries, C-2 Greyhound, E-2 Hawkeye, C-27 Spartan, L-188 Electra, CV 240/580 Convair, CP-140 Aurora, US-2 ShinMaywa, N250 IA/IPTN, 2000 Saab and AS Super Guppy. Propeller and trim options have moved forward for these engines. Configurations now include 4, 6, and 8 blade props, synchrophasers, electronic propeller control systems, prop feather controllers, vibe monitors, throttles and EECS. Horse power, thrust efficiency and TBO have all been increased for these engines.
Celtech’s T21D now offers technology refreshment solutions to address these increased T56 engine family capacities. Stemming from earlier T21S efforts and advanced with recent research, newly manufactured units can be built with stronger tubing and structurals. Remanufactured stands can also select a stronger framing kit option. For repairs involving technology refreshment of fatigued structural components, most of the new engine and propeller combinations can be accommodated. The T21D already comes with a state of the art ADAQ ™ control system, Atec’s stepper-servo-encoder throttle, a refreshed fuel trailer and a quieter, cooler cab.
Expanded orders have been met with plant reorganization, new production assets, aggressive materials ordering and hiring. Four T21 units are now in production simultaneously. Total production time has been reduced with plant layout set for multiple manufacturing cells. Forklifts, manlifts, platforms, holding fixtures, enlarged sand blast, upgraded paint booths, and hand tools have been added. Long lead assemblies and key materials are ordered in advance to meet shorter production schedules. In some cases, rotable production units are utilized to cut delivery/turnaround time. Employment has doubled to over 45 since 2013, and combined with Atec, the resources of 70 engineers and 160 employees are available to the challenge.
“Through this period of growth, Celtech has taken on additional work and expanded our capacity. Celtech morale is high and the company looks forward to reworking lots of T21s for the warfighter over the course of this decade,” said Mike Rigdon, President.
As the U.S. military and its allies move to enlarge and enhance the use of these heavy load turboprop planes, Celtech will be ready with a “best ever” T21 to meet their intermediate prop-on testing needs.