Terre Haute Aerospace
A Brief History of Terre Haute
Terre Haute is a city of about 60,000 people located in west-central Indiana. The name comes from French for "High ground" and was assigned by early French explorers. William Henry Harrison established Fort Harrison in the area during Tecumseh's war in 1811, and Terre Haute was platted in 1816. In the early 1800s steamboat traffic on the Wabash brought goods to and from the city. The Wabash & Erie Canal connected Terre Haute to cities like Lafayette & Fort Wayne on the upper Wabash River when it came to town in 1849. The canal did not last long after railroads came to town. Chauncey Rose founded the Terre Haute and Richmond Railroad, which provided service to Indianapolis in 1852. Terre Haute became an industrial hub after the Civil War, and its population peaked at around 70,000 in 1960. By 1980, when the Midwest had become the Rust Belt, the population had dropped to about 60,000 and it has remained relatively level since then. Since then industry in Terre Haute has recovered somewhat, and there are now several aerospace related companies in town.
VEXTEC Laboratory Group
VEXTEC Laboratory Group specializes in testing components under conditions similar to those experienced in gas turbine engines. They utilize small gas turbine engines normally used by serious radio control hobbyists to create a hot stream of gas. A powerful electric motor rotates the test articles at high speed in this gas stream. By doing this they can simulate the high temperature and high rotational speed at a much lower cost than running a full size gas turbine engine.
The facility was constructed in 2008 and is located just west of the airport and north of Tri Aerospace. The Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation was instrumental in bringing the company to Terre Haute. VEXTEC's headquarters is located in Nashville, Tennessee. VEXTEC Laboratory Group has performed testing for the U.S. Air Force and commercial customers.
Just south of VEXTEC Laboratory Group is Tri Aerospace. Founded in 1998, they currently have a 27,000 square foot facility on 3.5 acres. The company was purchased in April, 2012 by General Growth Capital. They specialize in CNC machining of aerospace components, primarily stationary components on gas turbine engines. Much of their work is on large prototype components.
Turbines Inc. is located at the Terre Haute International Airport. They specialize in the repair and overhaul of Pratt & Whitney PT6A turbine engines. They have been servicing PT6A turboprops since 1981 and all of their technical people are FAA certified. Clients can have routine maintenance completed within 24 hours. The adjoining airport has a 9,020 foot runway, so aircraft can be flown in and flown out. They stock a complete line of hot section parts.
Williams Aviation is a family owned business located at the airport. They perform inspections & maintenance on a variety of general aviation aircraft, including those from Piper, Cessna, Grumman, Mooney & other manufacturers. If you need work done by Turbines Inc, Williams can remove your engine, coordinate the necessary repairs with them, and re-install your engine. They can also perform a variety of other minor repairs, such as replacing lights or installing new control cables.
Hoosier Aviation provides a variety of services at the airport, including:
- Parking (overnight or monthly)
- Electrical or air starts
- Aircraft wash
They also offer aircraft rental & flight training.
General Electric Aviation Facilities
General Electric Aviation has a couple facilities in Terre Haute. One of these is located at 333 S. 3rd Street and manufactures components. General Electric acquired it in 2007 when it purchased Smiths Aerospace. This plant manufactures aviation components. Tri-Remanufacturing is a repair facility located at 3390 Locust Street. They do repairs on low pressure turbine cases and frames, and they are GE's center of excellence for honeycomb seal and segment repairs. Together these plants employ over 400 people.
Numerical Concepts is located at 4040 First Parkway in Terre Haute. They are a machine shop that serves a variety of industries, including aerospace. They can work with a wide variety of materials, including titanium & superalloys. NCI has tree and four axis CNC machines, and can handle parts weighing up to 22,000 pounds (11 tons).