Rolls-Royce Derwent 1

Frank Whittle’s W2B engine powered the first British jet-powered flight of the Gloster E28/39 in 1941. This engine was subsequently developed by Rolls-Royce into the Derwent and was the first jet engine to power a front line fighter, the Meteor.

Drawings started in April 1943 and it passed its 100-hour test at 2,000 lb rating in November 1943. In April 1944 it went through flight tests in a Meteor rated at 1,800 lb thrust and with a weight of 920 lb. The Derwent II, III and IV followed. When the Derwent V was developed, it incorporated so many changes in design that it was virtually a new engine. It provided the increase in power needed to power the larger and heavier Meteor night fighter aircraft.

The Mk.II was also modified with an extra turbine stage driving a gearbox and, eventually, a five-bladed propeller, forming the first production turboprop engine, the Rolls-Royce Trent (RB.50).

The basic Derwent design was also used to produce a larger 5,000 lb (22.2 kN) thrust engine known as the Rolls-Royce Nene, used in British fighters and licence-built in the USA. The Derwent 5 engine was used to power the Avro Jetliner – the world’s first regional jet passenger plane. It was designed and built at Avro Canada in Malton, Ontario.

This engine is a contemporary of the de Havilland Goblin also on display at the Museum.

Technical Details: (Derwent I)

Engine Type: centrifugal compressor turbojet
Thrust: 2,000 lb (8.9 kN) at 16,500 RPM for takeoff
Compressor: centrifugal, with two-sided impeller
Combustors: 10
Turbine: single-stage axial flow with 54 blades
Dimensions: length: 84 in (2135 mm), diameter: 41.5 in (1055 mm)
Dry weight: 975 lb (443 kg)
Overall pressure ratio: 3.9:1
Fuel consumption: 2,360 lb/hr (1,070 kg/hr) at maximum power