|Rolls-Royce Dart RDa. 3 Mk506|
|Major applications||Avro 748|
Grumman Gulfstream I
|Number built||more than 7,100|
The Rolls-Royce RB.53 Dart is a turboprop engine designed and manufactured by Rolls-Royce Limited. First run in 1946, it powered the Vickers Viscount on its maiden flight in 1948. A flight on July 29 of that year, which carried 14 paying passengers between Northolt and Paris–Le Bourget Airport in a Dart-powered Viscount, was the first regularly scheduled airline flight by a turbine-powered aircraft. The Viscount became the first turboprop powered aircraft to enter airline service with British European Airways (BEA) in 1953.
Following the company's convention for naming gas turbine engines after rivers, this turboprop engine design was named after the River Dart.
Designed in 1946 by a team led by Lionel Haworth, the Dart had a two-stage centrifugal compressor design derived from the earlier Rolls-Royce Clyde. The Dart was initially rated at 890 shp and first flew in October 1947 mounted to the nose of a converted Avro Lancaster. Improvements in the design boosted power output to 1,400 shp in the RDa.3, which went into production for the Viscount in 1952. The RDa.6 increased power to 1,600 shp and the RDa.7 to 1,800 shp by adding another compressor stage.
Later Darts were rated up to 3,245 ehp and remained in production until 1987, with approximately 7,100 produced, flying some 170 million hours.
As well as the RB.53 designation each mark of Dart engine was allocated a Ministry of Supply (MoS) "RDa.n" number as well as Mk.numbers.
Largely associated with the very successful Vickers Viscount medium-range airliner, it powered a number of other European and Japanese designs of the 1950s and 60s and was also used to convert American-manufactured piston aircraft to turboprop power. The list includes:
Power output was around 1,500 hp (1,120 kW) in early versions, and close to twice that in later versions, such as those that powered the NAMC YS-11 airliner. Some versions of the engine were fitted with water methanol injection, which boosted power in hot and high altitude conditions.
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965–66.
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