Malaga – Costa del Sol | A local engineer brings a Rolls-Royce engine to the Malaga Aviation Museum

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Álvaro Rojas is part of Rolls-Royce’s aircraft development team. / ON

The Trent-900, which is used in the largest passenger plane in the world, will be the only one of its type on public display in Spain

His name is Álvaro Rojas Zamora, he is 33 years old and comes from the Gamarra district of the city of Malaga. Although he now lives abroad, he is part of that group of Spanish professionals who never lose sight of their roots. This aeronautical and mechanical engineer is part of the team that develops experimental engines for passenger aircraft at the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby, England. They design, manufacture, install and test the machines that allow the largest commercial aircraft to fly. They also perform test flights in Toulouse (France) and Tucson, Arizona (USA).

Rojas started by studying aeronautics at the University of Seville, then studied mechanical engineering in Malaga, took an Erasmus course in Paris and finally obtained a double degree at Wrexham Glyndwr University in Wales. In January 2016, he joined the multinational’s graduate program and spent several months moving between different positions within the company. And so he joined the team that carried out flight tests on experimental engines.

In 2017, the engine he was working with exhausted its useful life. “They didn’t know what to do with it. They considered scrapping it, and that’s when I suggested donating it to an educational institution,” he said. declared.

It was the result of his own past and present experiences. “When I was little I went to the Science Museum in London and I have a picture of me with the engine they had on display; when I started working for Rolls-Royce I had it taken another in the same place,” he told SUR. .

Álvaro Rojas is also a scientific volunteer in different places in the UK and Spain: “It is my duty to reach out to those who will follow me. I collaborate with universities to inspire students and seek out promising candidates. I thought, what could be better for them than to see a real engine? he said.

The first place he thought of was the Museo Aeronáutico, the aviation museum at Malaga airport. “There was a long process of internal approval, but they finally decided that it had to come to Malaga. The museum is in line with the values ​​of Rolls-Royce: admission is free, it promotes science and there there are a lot of Brits on the Costa del Sol,” he explained.

A long process

The process took several years, and Rojas remained at the helm, including negotiations with Spanish airport operator Aena and logistics, even though he was no longer working on the project.

The engine finally arrived at its destination during Easter week. It took several hours of complex maneuvers with a crane to position it on its support. It will be exhibited very soon, once the room in which it is located has been decorated and the information panels in place.

There is only one other engine on display in Spain, at a factory in the Basque Country, although this one is not as easily accessible to the general public as the one in Malaga. Now plans are also underway for the University of Seville to have another for its aeronautical students.

The engine in question is a Trent-900, named after the river near the factory in Derby. These are used in the Airbus 380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world, with two floors and a capacity of 800 passengers.

The engine weighs 6.5 tonnes, the equivalent of three cars, and is the second largest made by the British company, measuring almost three meters in diameter. It develops 63,000 hp, three times more than all Formula 1 racing cars combined, and costs tens of millions of euros.

Rojas is an experienced volunteer, including at the airport museum when he is in Malaga. He also takes part on behalf of the company in the UK’s largest science fair, which is attended by 80,000 people, talking to children about his work and hoping to inspire them.

It promotes the Rolls-Royce graduate program and scholarships “to inspire future engineers and seek out the best talent wherever they are”, he added.

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