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British Industrial History

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De Havilland: Gnome

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Note: This is a sub-section of De Havilland

1954 International General Electric Co developed the T58 engine under a US Navy development contract to meet a U.S. Navy specification for an 800 h.p. helicopter engine. It employed a free power turbine, with a drive-shaft projecting at the rear of the engine between bifurcated tailpipes[1]

1958 De Havilland Engines issued a statement:

"The de Havilland Engine Co. announce an important extension of the long-standing agreement for the interchange of technical information which has been in operation between themselves and the General Electric Co. of America since 1951. During this period of close and mutually beneficial technical co-operation the General Electric Co. has been developing a 1,000 h.p. gas turbine engine and the de Havilland Engine Co. have been granted the right to manufacture this important new powerplant in England.

"This, the outcome of a very close exchange of technical information covering many aspects of gas turbine design and manufacture, is particularly gratifying to both parties and is likely to lead to further collaboration between the two companies. The American version of the engine is designated the T58. It is to be used by the United States Navy primarily as a helicopter powerplant including the development of the Sikorsky S-58, which is also manufactured in England by Westland Aircraft. Delivering more than 1,000 h.p. and weighing, with its gearbox, only 325 lb, it has been described as being for its weight and size the most powerful turboshaft engine in the world. The T58 has already accumulated an impressive background of bench and flight testing and passed its official government type approval test in America in October 1957. Initially the new engine, which is to be known as the de Havilland Gnome, will also be used in England in helicopters. Later versions will cover turboprop installations. There are excellent prospects of a good export market."[2]

1960 Developed as a turboshaft free-turbine unit for helicopters and as a turboprop. The H.1000 version was in quantity production under Ministry of Aviation contract for all new and existing RAF Whirlwinds. Engines were being produced for the Wessex Mk 2 and the Italian Agusta 101G and the H.1000 has also been selected to power the Agusta-Bell 204. In many installations it was to be derated, but its dry weight of only 3031b kept it attractive even at powers as low as 600 s.h.p. Future variants included the H.1200 (lhr rating, 1,175 s.h.p) and the H.1400 (lhr rating, 1,400 s.h.p.).[3]

Notes
SC 2014/08/10 write. 'I was an Apprentice at RR, Leavesden from 1969-1974. It is my understanding that, although the Gnome was a licensed development of the CT58 the design was originally DH and sold to GE lock,stock and barrel. It was developed by GE then licensed back to DH and became the Gnome. Our Dep Training Manager (Mr Mike Freshwater), had been in design and had a 'paper design' up to 2,200HP with two minus Compressor Stages and twin stage Power Turbines.'

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. FLIGHT, 9 April 1954
  2. Flight 7 February 1958
  3. FLIGHT, 2 September 1960