SRS Blog > Rolls Royce Artouste gas turbine

Published 8th March 2003

I like something to do at Christmas - soon get bored otherwise! This Christmas I was slowed up a bit with a virulent cold, however David and I got ourselves muffled up with thick coats and woolly hats to make a visit to an aircraft breakers yard I'd been wanting to visit for some time.
We had a very enjoyable - if cold - couple of hours poking around all sorts of interesting bits and pieces. Seemed churlish to leave without buying anything, so it was that we arrived home with a Rolls Royce Artouste APU gas turbine in the back of the pickup.

Built circa 1952, the engine was complete with its original 208 volt, 111 amp, 400 Hz generator. It has spent the last 20 years crated in the breaker's yard - the crate was as big as a shed (and about as heavy). Inside, the engine was kept in good condition swathed in cotton bandoliers of silica gel and zipped inside the heavy-duty "jet bags" used in the aviation industry.


Basically it's a gas turbine (or jet) engine, producing a small amount of thrust (about 100 pounds) as a by-product, the main power being taken from the shaft through a reduction gearbox where it gives around 200 horsepower. There is also an air bleed from the compressor, providing air at modest pressure (35 psi) but very high volume - this was typically used to drive slave "cold turbines" or to keep the main aircraft engines spinning on two minute standby.


There's an ejector nozzle plumbed up to the compressor which draws air through the alternator for cooling.

The whole engine is around six feet long and weighs around quarter of a ton with the alternator. From the pre-history of the gas turbine era, it was designed barely ten years after Frank Whittle got the thing going in the first place.

I'm currently working on a start panel for it, I'll post progress reports.