|Rolls-Royce Dart RDa. 3 Mk506|
|Major applications||Avro 748
Grumman Gulfstream I
The Rolls-Royce RB.53 Dart is a long-lived British turboprop engine designed, built and manufactured by Rolls-Royce Limited. First produced in the late 1940s, it powered the first Vickers Viscount maiden flight in 1948 and in the Viscount was the first turboprop engine to enter airline service, with British European Airways (BEA), in 1950. On the 29th of July of that year a flight between Northolt and Paris – Le Bourget Airport with 14 paying passengers in a Dart-powered Viscount was the first scheduled airline flight by any turbine-powered aircraft.
The Dart was still in production when the last Fokker F27 Friendships and Hawker Siddeley HS 748s were produced in 1987. Following the company convention for naming gas turbine engines after rivers, this turboprop design was named after the River Dart.
Designed in 1946 by a team under Lionel Haworth, the engine was initially rated at 890 shp and first flew in the nose of a converted Avro Lancaster in October 1947. Improvements in design led to the RDa.3 of 1,400 shp which went into production for the Viscount in 1952. The RDa.6 increased this rating to 1,600 shp and the RDa.7, thanks to a three-stage turbine, increased this to 1,800 shp.
Later Darts were rated up to 3,245 ehp and the Dart remained in production until 1987, some 7,100 having been produced and the engine type having flown some 170 million flying hours.
As well as the RB.53 designation each mark of Dart engine was allocated a Ministry of Supply (MoS) "RDa.n" number as well as Mk.numbers.
- Initial prototype engines - 1,250 shp plus 300lb residual thrust
- Initial production engines
- 1,480 hp (1,103.64 kW) estimated power - 1,345 hp (1,002.97 kW) shaft power + 350 lbf (1.56 kN) residual thrust at 14,500 rpm
- 1,670 hp (1,245.32 kW) estimated power - 1,535 hp (1,144.65 kW) shaft power + 350 lbf (1.56 kN) residual thrust at 14,500 rpm
- 1,815 hp (1,353.45 kW) estimated power - 1,630 hp (1,215.49 kW) shaft power + 480 lbf (2.14 kN) residual thrust at 15,000 rpm
- 1,910 hp (1,424.29 kW) estimated power - 1,730 hp (1,290.06 kW) shaft power + 470 lbf (2.09 kN) residual thrust at 15,000 rpm
- 2,020 hp (1,506.31 kW) estimated power - 1,835 hp (1,368.36 kW) shaft power + 485 lbf (2.16 kN) residual thrust at 15,000 rpm
- RDa.7/2 Mk.529
- 2,100 hp (1,565.97 kW) estimated power - 1,910 hp (1,424.29 kW) shaft power + 495 lbf (2.20 kN) residual thrust at 15,000 rpm
- 2,555 hp (1,905.26 kW) estimated power - 2,305 hp (1,718.84 kW) shaft power + 670 lbf (2.98 kN) residual thrust at 15,000 rpm
- 3,030 hp (2,259.47 kW) estimated power - 2,750 hp (2,050.67 kW) shaft power + 750.4 lbf (3.34 kN) residual thrust at 15,000 rpm
- 3,245 hp (2,419.80 kW) estimated power at 15,000 rpm, with Water/Methanol injection for the Hawker-Siddeley HS.748MF Andover C Mk.1.
Largely associated with the very successful Vickers Viscount medium range airliner it powered a number of other European and Japanese designs of the 1950s and 60s and was also used to convert American-manufactured piston aircraft to turboprop power. The list includes:
- Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosy: Medium-range transport
- Avro 748 (Hawker Siddeley H.S. 748): Feeder airliner.
- Aviation Traders Accountant: Cancelled prototype airliner
- Breguet Alizé: Anti-submarine aircraft: Dart RDa 21 1950 hp with water/methanol injection
- Cavalier Turbo Mustang III
- Fairchild F-27: Small airliner, U.S. manufactured version of the Fokker F27. Two versions: F27A and F27B
- Fairchild Hiller FH-227 - Airliner, U.S. manufactured version of the Fairchild F-27 featuring a stretched fuselage with increased passenger seating
- Fokker F27: Small airliner from Dutch aerospace and aviation manufacturer Fokker. The original model on which several other airliners where based (such as the abovementioned F-27 and FH-227).
- Grumman Gulfstream I (G-159): Executive transport & small airliner. Includes the stretched Grumman Gulfstream I-C (G-159C).
- Handley Page Dart Herald: Small airliner
- Hawker Siddeley Andover: Military transport
- NAMC YS-11: Short/medium range airliner (Japanese aircraft)
- Some Douglas DC-3 transport aircraft have been upgraded to use Darts. DC-3's in BEA service with this update were called Pionairs. Another conversion is the Conroy Turbo Three.
- Convair 600 and Convair 640 converted from Convair 240, Convair 340 and Convair 440 piston powered aircraft: Small airliners
Power output was around 1,500 hp (1,120 kW) in early versions, and close to twice that in later versions, such as those that powered the NAMC YS-11 airliner. Some versions of the engine were fitted with water methanol injection, which acted as a power restorative in hot and high conditions.
Engines on display
- Two Dart engines are on display at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey, alongside a Vickers Viscount airliner.
Specifications (Dart RDa.7)
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965–66.
- Type: Turboprop
- Length: 97.6 in (2,480 mm)
- Diameter: 37.9 in (960 mm)
- Dry weight: 1,207 lb (547 kg) (dry)
- Compressor: Two-stage centrifugal compressor
- Combustors: 7 straight-flow combustion chambers with ignitors in No 3 and 7 chambers
- Turbine: 3-stage axial turbine
- Fuel type: Kerosene
- Oil system: Self contained, 25 pint (14 L) capacity oil tank
- Maximum power output: 1,815 ehp (1,354 kW) (1,630 shp (1,220 kW)) at 15,000 rpm
- Overall pressure ratio: 5.62:1
- Air mass flow: 23.5 lb/sec (10.66 kg/s)
- Specific fuel consumption: 0.581 lb/ehp/hr
- Power-to-weight ratio: 1.35 shp/lb (2.48 kW/kg)
- Comparable engines
- Related lists
- Turner 1968, p. 9.
- "World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines - 5th edition" by Bill Gunston, Sutton Publishing, 2006, p.195
- "World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines - 5th edition" by Bill Gunston, Sutton Publishing, 2006, p.197
- Royal Air Force Museum Cosford - Rolls-Royce Dart www.rafmuseum.org.uk Retrieved: 31 July 2012
- Taylor 1965, pp. 485–6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rolls-Royce Dart.|
- Vickers Viscount and RR Dart history
- "The Story of the Dart" a 1953 Flight article
- "Dart Development" a 1955 Flight article on the Dart