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Gnome turbine engine

A tour of the Rolls Royce Gnome Gas Turbine Engine

The Gnome (series) turbines are manufactured by Rolls Royce under license from General Electric, targeting the 'overseas' market.
A cousin to the General Electric T58, the Gnome turbines are designed with output ratings from 1,000 HP to 1,660 HP.

Several models were produced for powering helicopters including the H1000 Mk 501, the H1200 Mk 660, and the H1400 gas turbines.
Several other models were designed to power Hovercraft and aircraft GenSets.

Rolls Royce Gas Turbine

Here we take a tour of the Rolls Royce H1200 Mk 660 which is a 10 stage axial flow turbo-shaft engine weighing 314 lbs, with an output of 19,500 rpm producing 1350 HP.
Here's what the several thousand parts look like when a Rolls Royce Gnome is completely disassembled.

These particular twin Gnome H1200 Mark 660 turbines flew for many years in a Nigerian registered Wessex 60 helicopter. They came certified air-worthy, with logbooks, lube oil system, and single (common) gearbox. With just over 1,000 hours since overhaul, these fine examples will provide many more years of dependable service.

Rolls Royce Gnome

Here's some photos 'as received'. There were several minor parts missing, so (after some research) I was able to locate a Rolls Royce Gnome aircraft parts supplier and get them ordered. After a detailed inspection, I realized both turbines had been properly preserved and are in outstanding condition overall.

Since I no longer have my turbine engine test stand, I'll modify the factory turbine support fixture so it will also hold my batteries and fuel supply. I'll be able to roll it outside for ground running.

Rolls Royce Turbine
Rolls Royce Gnome

The aircraft logbooks document all maintenance on these engines since the aircraft first rolled off the assembly line. Every component change, all adjustments, and every test result- it's all documented here. Lots and lots of power checks. Each and every maintenance action was performed by factory certified technicians.

I found entries for factory servicing performed in the field by maintenance teams out of Djambi Sumatra and Great Yarmouth England. Since my background is in Aviation Maintenance, I find it very interesting to see where the aircraft has been and what work was performed. It's like looking back in time.

Rolls Royce Gnome
Rolls Royce Gnome

While reviewing the logbooks, I came across an interesting bit of history; this original receipt shows the cost of 46,057.50 (that's over $87,000 at the time of this writing) for one overhauled Gnome H1200 turbine engine.

Rolls Royce Turbine

If the Rolls Royce Gnome turbine were compared 'side by side' to the General Electric T58 turbo-shaft engine, you'd immediately notice many similarities.
While individual parts are generally not interchangeable, some complete assemblies will bolt together. Starting with the T58, Rolls Royce continued to refine this power plant by adding many additional features designed to further automate the operation of this exceptional turbine engine. For instance; during the start cycle on the T58 you must manually hold the starter engaged until the turbine spools up over 20%. On the Gnome once the starter button is depressed, it will stay engaged until when the turbine spins up to the correct RPM then it will automatically disengage. Many of the systems on the Gnome turbines have been improved, or safeguarded in much the same way. Very interesting.

Rolls Royce Turbine

This is the Rolls Royce "Coupling Gearbox" Type 100 that came with these turbines. This aircraft gearbox would be ideal for a tractor pull as it would allow two gas turbine engines to output to a single shaft (power output the the rear wheels could be in excess of 2800 HP depending on what gas turbine engines were selected). It will bolt up to several varieties of T58 or Gnome turbines.

This gearbox was originally used in several models of helicopters including the Westland Wessex 60 twin turbine helicopter.

Wessex 60 Helicopter Turbine Engine
Rolls Royce Gnome

Here's the coupling hardware (which connects the power turbine output shaft to this Rolls Royce reduction gearbox.

Another view of the type 100 gearbox. It has its own cooling fan, dry sump lubrication system, and mounts for two generators.

Rolls Royce Gnome H1200 mk 660

We have T-58 & Rolls Royce Gnome gas turbines available to power your project.
We also have starters, manuals, instruments, and gearboxes for T-58 and Gnome gas turbine engines.

'south florida trailers'

Rolls Royce Gnome

This drawing shows the arrangement of the Gnome turbine engines utilizing the Rolls Royce coupling gearbox type 100. This combination powered the WS-58 Wessex which proved to be one of Westland's most successful and enduring aircraft. The Westland Sea King also flew twin Gnome turbine engines.

Rolls Royce Gnome
Wessex 60 helicopter

Here's a view of how the engines are positioned in the fuselage of the Wessex 60 aircraft. The output shaft exits the rear of the gearbox and continues aft, upwards at an angle to the main gearbox to power the main rotor. This twin Gnome turbine engine configuration is also known as the 'coupled Gnome'.

Rolls Royce Turbine

Here's a video of the Westland Sea King helicopter in flight. The Rolls Royce Gnome turbine can also be successfully converted to thrust.

I could use a few Rolls Royce Gnome parts

Gnome Turbo-shaft engine


Ground running the Rolls Royce Gnome Turbine

I'm setting up each turbine engine for ground running (one at a time while mounted in my modified support cradle).

Wessex 60 Helicopter Turbine Engine

I modified the factory holding fixture for my test cart. I matched the same (original) square tubing and fabricated another level below the crossmembers. Now I have enough room underneath for the batteries and fuel tank.

I raised it up so the turbine intake would be high enough to help reduce the FOD hazard during ground running. Locking casters will help prevent the cart from 'hauling ass down the street' when I hit the throttle.

Wessex 60 Helicopter Turbine Engine
Rolls Royce Whirlwind Turbine engine

The cart is designed to be 'self-contained' so I just roll it out in my driveway, lock the wheels, and start it up. It 'turns a lot of heads', but it's not as noisy as one might think.

I fabricated an engine control panel, mounted my indicators, and wired the engine control switches.

Rolls Royce Gnome H1000 mk 501
Rolls Royce Gnome H1000 mk 501

My test cart includes a self-contained fuel supply system. Here you can see the electric fuel pump (arrow "D"), fuel filter/water separator (arrow "E") and fuel tank (arrow "F").

At the control panel, the operator can monitor all vital indications and control the igniters, fuel pump, and starter. I left room so I can add oil pressure and oil temperature indicators for the Speed Decreaser Gear (SDG) when I install my gearbox at a later date.

Rolls Royce Gnome

Here is one of the Rolls Royce Gnome gas turbines setup to run on my test cart. Both turbines 'spool up' and stabilize at idle right off the starter. All specs are well within limits, they accelerate real nice. Definitely a 'keeper', this pair of gas turbines will provide many more years of dependable service with very little maintenance.

Here's a short video of my gas turbine engine running on my test cart

If the video does not display properly, click here.

Thanks to all who have contacted me after viewing my movie.
Some common questions seem to keep coming up so I'll try to address them here;

Yes, it smokes a little in this video as I was doing a test run on straight Diesel. The next test run was on 75% Diesel and 25% gasoline and the smoke disappeared. I usually burn Number One Heating Oil or Kerosene.

Regarding running a turbine without an intake screen. Yes, there is always the chance you could FOD the motor and I don't recommend ground running without a properly fitted intake screen. In this case, I've taken several steps to reduce the FOD hazard; I've mounted the motor so the intake is up high enough to prevent a vortex from forming (and greatly increasing the chance of sucking FOD down the intake), I've washed the concrete slab all around the motor (to remove all traces of gravel, dirt, and debris) prior to ground running, and my test cart is 'FOD free' (no loose fasteners, no metal shavings, etc.). Plus, I don't run the turbine at any higher than about 70% RPM without a load on the Power Turbine. At just over 70% RPM (indicated on the Gas Generator) the Power Turbine (while unloaded) can easily approach 100% RPM and I don't want to 'overspeed' the blades. The suction into the intake increases dramatically as the throttle is advanced (greatly increasing the chance of FOD). When this motor is installed in a boat an intake screen will be properly fitted.

About the noise; yes it's pretty noisy running in my driveway. To me it's a lot of 'moving air' rather than the 'high-pitched whine' a lot of other turbine engines produce. After working the Flight Deck for many years, I find this particular turbine to be relatively quiet (both the Rolls Royce Gnome and the General Electric T-58 sound about the same). I only run it occasionally (during daylight hours) and when I do, it's only for a short time. The folks who live around me are very understanding. Besides, I'm the 'handyman' all my neighbors call when something breaks, so they don't seem to mind my 'eccentric hobbies'

One of these gas turbines has been sold; it will be converted to thrust and installed in an aircraft (possibly a cozy), but the mate to it is still available. This Rolls Royce Gnome gas turbine would be perfect to power your helicopter, aircraft, boat, tractor pull, or other turbine powered project. It has just over 1,000 hours since overhaul (based on a 2500 hour overhaul cycle) and comes with aircraft logbooks that documents all maintenance actions all the way back to the day it arrived from the factory.

Since I'm into fast boats, I always enjoy seeing these gas turbines installed in offshore race boats. With an output of over 1250 HP, this turbine will 'haul ass'!

We have T-58 & Rolls Royce Gnome gas turbines available to power your project.
We also have starters, manuals, instruments, and gearboxes for T-58 and Gnome gas turbine engines.

Gnome Turbo-shaft engine


A few more details about the Rolls Royce Gnome H1200 Mk660 Turbine

Here's a closer look at a few of the systems and individual components on the Gnome Turbine Engine.

Rolls Royce Gnome H1200 mk 660

It takes 8 quarts of lube oil to perform an oil change. Adding a short section of hose to a funnel helps get the oil into the lube oil fill fitting (arrow "A") without making a big mess. At $20 a quart we don't want a mess.

The throttle cable attaches to the throttle arm (arrow "B") once installed in the boat.

Rolls Royce Turbine
Rolls Royce Whirlwind Turbine engine

The "run/stop" valve is called the HP Cock on the Rolls Royce Gnome (arrow "C"). I put a temporary wire on the lever while running on my test cart. Later, this will be controlled by an actuator or linkage.

The fuel flow divider controls fuel to the nozzles during the start/run cycles. A spring-loaded valve restricts fuel to half the nozzles during start, then (as RPM increases along with air flow and fuel pressure) the valve opens to allow fuel to all the nozzles.

Rolls Royce Whirlwind Turbine engine
Rolls Royce Whirlwind Turbine engine

The mounting pad for the fuel flow divider is up under the combustion section (arrow "G").

Here the output signal of the Tachometer Generator has been tapped to drive the Percent RPM Indicator (arrow "H") until I can locate the correct canon plug. The Alumel/Chromel connections for the Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) indicator are on top of the Gas Generator (arrow"I") and (arrow "J").

Rolls Royce Whirlwind Turbine engine
Rolls Royce Whirlwind Turbine engine

The throttle arm (arrow "K") moves vertically (linked to the computer) and controls the turbine speed from idle to wide open.

The ignition system includes the Igniter plug (arrow "L"), the shielded igniter wire (arrow "M"), and the igniter power supply (arrow "N"). Considered part of the airframe, the igniter wire and power supply stays with the aircraft when the engine is pulled, so I installed one on my test cart for ground running the Gnome.

Rolls Royce Gnome
R/Royce Turbine engine

The Fuel Control is a Hydro-Mechanical unit that precisely meters fuel to the burners.

The correct fuel amount is constantly computed by monitoring Gas Generator RPM, engine load, throttle position, ambient air temperature, and Exhaust Gas Temperature.

R/Royce Turbine engine
Turbo-shaft Helicopter Turbine Engine

The fuel control mounts on the underside of the Gas Generator and is driven off the accessory pad.

Here you can see the pressure bellows and vacuum capsule inside the Flow Control Unit.

R/R Turbine Engine fuel control
Rolls Royce Turbo-shaft Gnome Turbine Engine

Here's the overview of the Fuel Pump and Flow Control Unit (what Rolls Royce calls the Fuel Control).

A cutaway diagram shows the internal parts of the Gnome Fuel Control.

Rolls Royce Gnome Turbine Engine fuel control

The engineering Rolls Royce puts into these machines is very impressive. Everywhere I look, the quality is evident and it's clear to me that every component was designed for reliability. This Rolls Royce gas turbine will provide many years of dependable service powering any turbine powered project.

Rolls Royce Aircraft Gearbox


This configuration of the Rolls Royce Gnome H1200 Mark 610 powers the Agusta Bell 204

The extreme example of dependability, this engine flew flawlessly for 1400 hours powering a single engine Bell 204 military helicopter. With lots of life left till next overhaul (due at 2500 hours) this engine is now available to power your aircraft or turbine powered project. It comes in 'airworthy condition' with starter, logbooks, gearbox, holding fixture, factory maintenance manual, and 24 quarts of the correct synthetic turbine oil. I can be reached by e-mail to address your concerns.

Rolls Royce Gnome H1200 Turbine Engine

In this view from above you can see the overall layout. The output shaft leaves the gearbox and runs forward to the main gearbox (located near the intake when installed in the helicopter).

The lube lines are shown at the end of the gearbox.

Rolls Royce Gnome H1200 Turbine Engine
Rolls Royce Gnome H1200 Turbine Engine

Here the output shaft runs alongside the Inlet Guide Vanes (IGV) actuator. The starter is inside the silver cover.

This view shows the fuel control, IGVs, and intake.

Rolls Royce Gnome H1200 Turbine Engine
Rolls Royce Gnome H1200 Turbine Engine

The Speed Decreaser Gearbox (SDG) tucks up inside the exhaust cheeks for a very compact assembly. The output shaft on this model runs forward, but is easily changes to run aft (if desired).

Rolls Royce Gnome

Rolls Royce Aircraft Gearbox


A look inside the Rolls Royce Gnome H1200 Mk 660 turboshaft helicopter engine

These graphics are just a sample of the many detailed illustrations, charts, and diagrams presented in my Rolls Royce Turbine Maintenance Manual.

This diagram details the temperature and pressure of the gasses as they flow through the turbine engine.

Here the fuel flow and fuel control systems are described in functional detail.

Rolls Royce turboshaft

The GE T58 turboshaft and Rolls Royce Gnome turbo-shaft engines both incorporate an automated system that varies the inlet blade angle according to engine load. The Inlet Guide Vane (IGV) system is one of several features that enable these motors 'squeeze out every bit of horsepower' and boast such exceptional power-to-weight ratios.

The Power Turbine captures the power of the expanding exhaust gasses (from the turbine gas generator section) and turns it into usable shaft horsepower. It's pretty amazing when you consider this single row of blades puts out almost 1400 HP.

General Electric T58 turbine
GE T-58 turbine engine

This diagram shows the internal components of the Rolls Royce Gnome (series) Gas Turbine.

This Rolls Royce Speed Decreaser Gear (SDG) is used on some (single turbine motor) aircraft applications reducing the Power Turbine output from over 20,000 rpm down to a usable level of around 6,000 rpm (at 100%). It's shown 'upside down' in this view.

Rolls Royce Gnome Gas Turbine

Please take a look at my "items wanted" list.

Rolls Royce Speed Decreaser Gearbox (SDG)

Rolls Royce Gnome Turbine Engine Fuel and Lube Oil Requirements

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Rolls Royce gas turbine H1400

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