Inspection of a T58 engine before installation in a SH-3G Sea King helicopter
The General Electric T58 is an American turboshaft engine developed for helicopter use. First run in 1955, it remained in production until 1984, by which time some 6,300 units had been built. On July 1, 1959, it became the first turbine engine to gain FAA certification for civil helicopter use. The engine was license-built and further developed by de Havilland in the UK as the Gnome, and also manufactured by Alfa Romeo and the IHI Corporation.
Development commenced with a 1953 US Navy requirement for a helicopter turboshaft to weigh under 400 lb (180 kg) while delivering 800 hp (600 kW). The engine General Electric eventually built weighed only 250 lb (110 kg) and delivered 1,050 hp (780 kW) and was soon ordered into production. First flight was on a modified Sikorsky HSS-1 in 1957, and civil certification for the CT58-100 variant was obtained two years later.
The main production version of the engine was the T58-GE-10, developing 1,400 hp (1,044 kW). The most powerful version, the T58-GE-16, produces 1,870 hp (1,390 kW).
Two T58s, converted to turbojets by the removal of the power turbines, were used as the engines on the Maverick TwinJet 1200.
The Carroll Shelby turbine cars entered in the 1968 Indianapolis 500 race were powered by T58s. The cars were found to be using variable inlets to get around the USAC regulations on the maximum allowable inlet size and were disqualified.
Turboshaft engines like the GE T58, Lycoming T53/T55 are also used to power high performance powerboats, such as aport and offshore vee, and catamaran hulls like the Skater "Jet Set" or Mystic Powerboats "My Way", water jet river racers like Unatural Dissaster and hydroplanes. Some of these boats run in excess of 200 mph, despite them being open cockpit pleasure boats.