Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Rolls-Royce W2B/23 Welland

This turbo-jet was the first British production engine. The prototype F.9/40, DG202/G, powered by Rolls-Royce 1,700 lb W2B/23 engines, was flown by Michael Daunt, from Barford St. John airfield on July 24, 1943. In November this aircraft was delivered to the Rolls-Royce base at Hucknall for Welland development.
Two Rolls-Royce Welland turbo-jets were installed in the first production Meteor Mk.1, EE210/G, which was test flown by Michael Daunt on January 12, 1944. This Meteor was then sent to the United States in exchange for a General Electric J31-GE-powered Bell YP-59 Airacomet, RG362/G. The Meteor was first flown at Muroc AFB by John Grierson on April 15. Several test flights followed. By December, the Meteor had been shipped back to the U.K.
The Rolls-Royce Welland entered service with the RAF Meteor Mk.1 jet fighters EE211-229 and Meteor Mk.3/EE230-244. The first of these Meteors was delivered to No.616 Squadron RAF in May 1944, equipped with 1,600 lb thrust engines rated at180-hours between overhauls. Flying from RAF Manston, near the English channel, the Squadron first saw action against the V-1 flying-bombs en-route to London on July 27, 1944. The first of thirteen V-1s to be destroyed was on August 4, when Flying Officer Dean used his wing tip to tip a V-1 off its course and saw it crash onto open ground.

From October 1943, a total of 167 Wellands, were dispatched from the Rolls-Royce facility at Barnoldswick. These were the last of the Whittle “reverse-flow” turbo-jets, but the design continues today in many smaller turbo-fan, turbo-prop and turbo-shaft engines.

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