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This page will detail my collection of old gas turbines and some of things I get up to with them.

I've been collecting and playing with old gas turbines for some years now; I finally concluded that old computers were fun but didn't make enough noise. I have my old friend Chris Quayle to thank for this dubious pursuit; he told me he had been interested in this for years but never got round to doing anything about it... I did. I'm interested in all engines small enough to be practical for home tinkering, which means apu engines, ground power/air start units, small helicopter engines, target drone/cruise missile sized engines, and small jets - up to Viper/J85 size.

Other individuals who are partially to blame for this include Ian Bennet, an even worse case than my own as he has attempted (with some success) to build his own engines, and Richard Brown, an extreme (possibly terminal) case, as he has built and ridden a jet powered motorbike, has just taken the British motorcycle land speed record on a rocket bike, and now plans to take the world record! The RB108 is one of his; it was to be the powerplant for his record bike but he decided to go the rocket route instead, so I swapped a Gnome for his 108.

The collection currently includes:

Plessy 'Solent' gas turbine starter (from the RR Spey engine used in Phantoms).

Grrrrrrr. Still awaiting picture.

KHD T312 Tornado APU - my latest engine:
(click on any pics to see the high-resolution version)

A complex beast... the KHD (Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz) T312 APU, used on the RAF Tornado.
A major advance on previous-generation GTS/JFS systems, such as the Plessy Solent and Garret JFS-100; the KHD unit is more of a full-blown
SPS system. It plugs into a transfer gearbox between the two engines, and is capable of starting or motoring either engine, as well as motoring the
accessories (generators, hydraulics etc.) at a reduced power setting. More similar to the Lucas units used on the Pegasus engine in the Harrier in that respect.
There is also provision for a small bleed air supply which cools the fuel supply - it's not big enough to run the A/C packs.

The sharp end. The compressor is actually a two-stage affair; the visible part is a single axial stage. This is followed by a centrifugal stage.
On later-build T312 units, the two-stage compressor is replaced by a more advanced single-stage centrifugal compressor.
As can be seen, the engine is in beautiful condition - by the looks of the exhaust duct it has clearly been used, but it's still very nice!
The yellow cover at the 2 o'clock position covers the bleed air outlet.

The blunt end. A metal plate covers the power takeoff splined shaft.

The noisy end. Another metal plate covers the exhaust duct. Starter motor is in centre, fuel & oil pumps below.

Rover gas-turbine powered fire pump(!):

These bizarre units were the ?50s ?60s response to the need for a compact, lightweight, portable fire pump:
put a gas turbine on it! Used for civil defence, and by the Royal Navy for shipboard firefighting.
Rover 1S- series engine, magneto ignition, hand-crank start. Batteries not included - none required!
In the above view, the water pump with fire hose connections is clearly visible. The red panel above it covers the instruments.

The other side. The turbine engine is the black-painted part. The red flap in the middle covers the air intake; it is removed before running.
Unless you are *very* jetlagged. In which case you attempt to start the engine with the flaps still closed. This is an unrewarding experience.
Note the hand cranks - one either side. Starting this engine is strongly reccomended to be a two-person job; it's bloody hard work!

The hot end.

The instrument panel. RPM, water pressure, vacuum, oil pressure and temperature gauges - but no EGT gauge, oddly.
Also a simple hand throttle visible. The high-resolution version of this pic allows the placards to be read. Not sure if the tacho is saying
1685 hrs TT or 16.85hrs!

2 Blackburn/Rolls-Royce 'Palouste' air start units, used in carts to supply air to start large engines. One is in perfect condition, zero-houred; this was the spare engine from Richard Browns jet bike...

It really is in very nice shape...
Just for entertainment, here's a couple of pics of Richards bike:

My good mate Chris Quayle and an unidentified (?Bennet brother?) sitting behind, about to take cover because...

This thing, running on afterburner in a confined space, was seriously, catastrophically noisy. Lots of diamond shockwaves!

A BMW/MAN ground power unit, hand crank start used to drive a 24v generator. The combustion chamber perched on top is from the RB108:

A Microturbo TRS18 small jet thrust engine, used in missiles and target drones (is any kitchen complete without one???).
HOT NEWS - this engine has been SOLD to a friend who has a real use for it.

This one got away - sold to my good mate Chris Quayle - nice zero-houred US Navy Garrett GTP-70 APU:

Just been run up - note the half-cut Coke bottle used for gravity feed of fuel.

The hot end. Renewed all the Aeroquip hose connectors - looked pretty smart.

As found at the rural premises of Barry Parkhouse... pretty grotty!

Being restored in Cambridge by yours truly...

Another US engine - another copy of French design; Continental C141 from starting cart - very similar to Palouste.
This engine stripped for repair - had been close to a fire and dry powder all over it. Good shape apart from that though:

Compressor cover cleaned, painted, reassembled. More money for Aeroquip!
(yes that's a Xerox 6085 and a VT-8E in the background...)

A Rolls-Royce RB108, a Viper-class engine of around 2,500lb thrust, used in experimental VTOL.


This one nearly got bought - a supposedly zero-houred Rolls-Royce Adour at Hanningfield metals:

I was able to resist it when I found it was indeed zero-houred, but had been pretty well trashed by endless stripdowns and reassemblies by RAF apprentices - *everything* was out of tolerance, it wouldn't even turn!

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