TYPE: Experimental testbed
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only
POWER PLANT: Two Rolls-Royce RB.50 Trent turboprop engines, rated at 750 hp and 570 kp thrust each
COMMENT: Experimental works with early jets proved that in the speed range of less than 450 mph the substantial reduction of fuel consumption can be obtained by fitting a reduction gearbox to the impeller of a turbojet engine driving an airscrew. In German companies such as BMW, Heinkel and Junkers were pioneers related to this new power unit and some of these were in an advanced stage of realization (Messerschmitt Me 262B-2 “Turboprop”), but the end of the war stopped all further works. Also in the UK this idea was materialized by Rolls- Royce in the form of a ‘Trent’ turboprop engine what was in fact a modified ‘Derwent’ turbojet, fitted with shaft reduction gearbox and five-bladed Rotol propellers. Two ‘Trent’ turboprops were installed in a Gloster ‘Meteor’ F. 1 turbojet fighter as a test bed. The aircraft needed little modification for the accommodation of the ‘Trent’ power plant, though the nacelles were somewhat larger, which, with the extra side area of the propellers, entailed the fitting of two small auxiliary fins towards the outboard end of the tail plane to ensure directional stability. The Gloster ‘Trent’-Meteor and became the first aircraft to take-off and fly solely on turboprop power on September, 1945. By March 1948 the development program had been completed. The results of it were embodied in highly successful Rolls-Royce ‘Clyde’ and ‘Dart’ turboprop engines (Ref.: 24).