The Anonymous Widower

Musings On Airliners And Engines

I flew to and from Iceland in an Icelandic Air Boeing 757. It’s funny, but I think that these are my only journeys in the type, as normally on short-haul flights around Europe it’s a Boeing 737 or a babyAirbus.

The 757s, that I flew on were powered by Rolls-Royce RB211-535 engines. These engines first flew on a 757 in January 1983 and were a launch engine for the airliner.

Incidentally, I wonder when the two Icelandic 757s I flew were built! Not that I worry, as well-maintained aircraft can last a lot longer than thirty years. These weren’t that old and were probably about twenty.

When I was at University, the father of one of the fellow students,  worked at Tesco in Derby. Tesco used to supply Rolls-Royce with time-expired frozen chickens, which were used by the engine company to test the first version of the RB-211 with its carbon-fibre fan blades for bird-strikes. That must have been about 1966, a few years before the RB211-22 entered service in 1972 on a Lockheed Tristar.

Today in the Sunday Times, there is an article which talks about how Airbus and Boeing, instead of designing new aircraft, are redesigning old ones. The article talks about the Airbus A330neo powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. And what is a Trent engine? It’s a developed and renamed RB-211. Someone got the basic design right fifty years ago.

One paragraph in the Wikipedia entry for the Trent 700 must be shown.

Compared to the A330 engines the Trent 7000 will improve specific fuel consumption by ten per cent, double the bypass ratio and halve perceived noise enabling the A330neo to meet the stricter London airport (QC) noise regulations of QC1/0.25 for departure and arrivals respectively.

But then they’re only following a long tradition of the company or squeezing every drop of performance out of a design, just as they did with the Merlin.

Is it just a coincidence, that another of the UK’s long-lived and much-developed engineering icons; the InterCity 125, also has strong connections to the city of Derby in the years around 1970?

July 20, 2014 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , , ,

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