Author Topic: The Royal Navy and the Trent Powered Meteor  (Read 626 times)

Offline Rickshaw

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The Royal Navy and the Trent Powered Meteor
« on: April 08, 2021, 07:03:32 PM »
The Royal Navy and the Trent Powered Meteor

In 1945, desperate to get a jet powered aircraft aboard their carriers, the Lords of the Admiralty undertook trials with a Meteor I it was used for deck-handling tests aboard aircraft carrier HMS Pretoria Castle in late 1944.  Flown by Captain Eric "Winkle” Brown in March 1945, a hooked Meteor III made the first jet landing and take off from an aircraft carrier on HMS Ocean.  The results from these trials were such that they decided to order 200 Meteor IVs, a version which utilised the Derwent V engine. This new engine provided 3,500lb of thrust, a 50% increase on the power offered by the Derwent IV used in later Meteor IIIs.  The result was a sprightly improvement in the Meteor III's desultory performance.  The first Meteor IV prototype took to the air on 15 August 1945 and the test programme went so smoothly that it entered RN FAA squadron service on 1 June 1946, just in time to sail onboard HMS Illustrious to the Far East to take part in the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands. Able to carry 2,000lbs under each wing, armed with rockets or bombs and its 4 20mm cannon, the Meteor IV proved a considerable success both as a fighter-bomber and a fighter against the Japanese Kamikaze planes deployed against the Allied fleet off Japan.

However what isn’t known was that a flight of four Trent Turbo-prop powered Meteors also took part in the attack on the Japanese home islands.  Equipped with two Trent engines, the Trent Meteor had a longer range and only a slightly lower speed than the normal Derwent powered versions.  It could also carry the same load.

The newly developed RB.50 Trent propeller-turbine, or turboprop. Such a powerplant seemed to offer many of the advantages of turbine power (relative simplicity, high power and lack of vibration) combined with the proven capabilities of the propeller (high aerodynamic efficiency even up to quite high Mach numbers). Rolls-Royce therefore began to develop the experimental Trent in May 1944, using as the basis of the engine the centrifugal-flow Derwent turbojet which was to power the F.3 and later marks of the Meteor.

The Trent-Meteor needed little modification for the accommodation of the Trent powerplant, 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 ends of the tailplane to ensure directional stability. The Gloster Trent-Meteor first flew on September 20, 1945 and thereafter contributed greatly to the development of turbine engines as pure turbojets and as turboprops. In its first form, the Trent-Meteor was fitted with five-blade Rotol propellers, each having a diameter of 2.41m, though some reports claim a propeller with a diameter of 2.31m absorbing 750hp and leaving 454kg of residual thrust. Later, the aircraft was modified to accommodate propellers with a diameter of 1.49m, absorbing only 350hp and leaving a residual thrust of 635kg to emerge from a squeezed orifice. It had a range of over 590 miles as against the Meteor IV’s of 510 miles, with a top speed of 598 mph versus 580 mph of the Mk.IV.

The Trent engined Meteors were definitely an experimental aircraft with the pilot needing to juggle the controls between the thrust and the propeller setting.  The Royal Navy was interested in them because of needing a replacement for their propeller powered aircraft in the strike role and decided to try them out in an operational test.  The Fleet Air Arm found that only their most expert pilots could manage the juggling act and land the aircraft onto the carriers.  So, they were sent.  Four of the most expert pilots, including Eric “Winkle” Brown, who led the flight.

Equipped with bombs or rockets and four 20mm cannons the aircraft were near equal of the jet powered Meteor IVs which they accompanied to the far east.  They failed to encounter any Japanese aircraft over Japan but they impressed the US Navy who arranged for a test flight on their return through the Panama Canal and the visit to Patuxent River Naval Base.

The Kit

The kit is the 1/72 MPM Trent Meteor.  It was an interesting build.  For some strange reason the undercarriage is misaligned with one leg ending up more forward than the other.  Doesn’t distract from the model but it is, well, “odd”.  I intended to arm it with 60 lb rockets but their really isn’t enough room and be able to paint the invasion stripes and put the markings on it.  Oh, well, another time.  Paint is Vallejo and Tamiya with a hairy stick.  Decals from Kit Speckman Enterprises.

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Re: The Royal Navy and the Trent Powered Meteor
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2021, 02:57:15 AM »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.