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20th September 1945

One of the first jets in the world was the Gloster Meteor, it is one of the iconic aircraft built in the WW II era in the United Kingdom. What is less known about the Gloster Meteor is that a Turbo Prop version was built in 1945 and first flew on this day in 1945. Making it the first turboprop powered aircraft to fly in the world.

Gloster Meteor F.1 EE227 powered by two Rolls Royce RB.50 Trent Turboprops


In February of 1945, the RAF had its required number of Gloster Meteor F.3 ins service. Aircraft EE227 was turned over to Rolls Royce to become the test aircraft for the newly developed Rolls Royce RB.50 Trent turboprop. The RB.50 Trent development ha started a year earlier, in May 1944, using the centrifugal flow Rolls Royce Derwent engine as the basis for the project. Besides fitting the turboprop other modifications were required of the aircraft;

  • Engine nacelles were slightly larger

  • Additional small auxiliary fins fitted to the horizontal stabiliser, to increase directional stability

  • The landing gear was raised to provide sufficient clearance for the propellers

EE.227 showing of its longer legs and the 5 bladed propeller


During the subsequent test program, different configurations were tested. Initially, the aircraft was fitted with 5 bladed Rotol propellers, with a 2.41 meter (nearly 8 feet) diameter. These absorbed 750 hp of the engine, which still provided 454 kg (1000 lbs) of thrust. Another modification saw the aircraft modified and fitted with 1.49 meter (5 feet) diameter propellers, absorbing 350 hp and leaving 635 kg (1400 lbs) of engine thrust coming out of the convergent exhaust.


The research program was aimed at different areas of turboprop use in the aircraft, besides handling characteristics, engine operation also configuration changes were researched, amongst others;

  • Propeller hub in relation to intake shape

  • Reduction gears

Some specifications of the RB.50 Trent powered Gloster Meteor;

Crew: 1


Powerplant:

  • 2 x Rolls-Royce R.B.50 Trent turboprops, 1305kW

Propeller:

  • 2x Rotol 5 bladed

Dimensions;

  • Wingspan: 13.12 m (43 ft 1 in)

  • Length: 12.57 m (41 ft 3 in)

  • Height: 3.96 m (13 ft 0 in)

  • Wing area: 34.75 m (2374.05 sq ft)

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