Supersonic (by jamescharlick)
For over 50 years Pyestock was at the forefront of gas turbine development. It was probably the largest site of its kind in the world. V bomber, Harrier and Tornado engines were tested on site, and the power of the air house allowed Concorde’s engines to be tested at 2,000 mph. Every gas turbine installed in Royal Navy ships was checked here; captured Soviet engines were discreetly examined.
Cell 4 was an integral part of the massive supersonic-testing expansion of Pyestock, as the need to test engines in close association with their air intake systems was an urgent requirement for this new generation of aircraft. The cell was constructed in 1975 for £6.5m.
Shortly after its construction, the cell was modified to enable it to fly the Rolls-Royce Olympus 593 which was being developed for Concorde. The cell’s abilities were enhanced to be able to fly at Concorde’s cruise parameters of Mach 2 at 61,000 feet.
However with the decline of supersonic projects and its specialised, power-hungry needs, Cell 4 was soon surplus to requirements and was mothballed in the 1980s.