Derby Industrial Museum, England

Photos and Narrative by John Martin



These were taken just after Christmas 2004. I took the opportunity of the visit to try out the Nikon D70 I had bought myself Christmas.

The museum is housed in a building that is itself a piece of history. Finished in 1721 it was the first mill, and therefore factory built anywhere.

The pictures show many of the gas turbine exhibits, though there are also a number of piston engines on display. They cover the whole history of gas turbines from a Whittle W2 to an RB211.

The early days are covered by the Whittle W2, Welland, Derwent and Nene, including a sectioned Derwent which gives a fascinating insight into the aerodynamic challenge of getting air into the double sided impellers of this family of engines. A relative of this series is, of course, the Dart which used centrifugal technology in the form of a two stage compressor to create the first successful turboprop with over 6000 built. I was involved in the certification of the final model of the Dart, the Mk552 in 1985, 37 years after the engine first ran. The next in the turboprop line was the Tyne which is also represented.

Rolls-Royce’s development of lightweight engines is illustrated with examples of the Soar, RB108, RB145, RB162 and a mock-up of the never run RB202. The idea of VTOL by multiple lift engines championed by Rolls-Royce in the 60’s and 70’s never did seem like a realistic option. The elegant simplicity of the rival (originally) Bristol Pegasus always looked like a better option and so it proved to be.

An example of the very successful Avon is on show, which I think is an RA29 variant which powered the Comet 4 and Caravelle airliners. On a previous visit another unique Avon was on display which included an aft-fan. Unfortunately it is no longer there although a photograph is on display.

The final photograph of the set is one of 3 engine types to bear the name Trent. In the late 40’s a Derwent was fitted with a gearbox to create the first turboprop which flew I a Meteor. In the late 60’s Rolls-Royce planned to produce a family of three-shaft engines, the RB199 for what became the Tornado, the large RB211 for the Lockheed Tristar and the RB203 Trent for a stretched Fokker F-28 to be produced by Fairchild as the FH-228. The first two went on to great success, though not without their problems, but the RB203 Trent never got beyond its early development running.

20 years later, Fokker developed their own stretched and updated F-28 in the form of the F-100, powered by a refanned and developed Spey known as the RB183-03 Tay. This was one of the applications for the Tay engine in which I was also very involved, the other two being the Gulfstream 4 and a re-engined Boeing 727-100PF for UPS. We also re-engined a BAC 111 -400 but that was never certificated. Like the Trent, the Tay name was used before, for the last in the line of centrifugal engines. It powered a one-off version of the Viscount but was very successful in Europe where it was licence built by Hispano-Suiza as the Verdon and powered the Dassault Mystere fighter.