Turbomeca Palouste

The Turbomeca Palouste is a French gas turbine engine, first run in 1952.[1] Designed purely as a compressed air generator, the Palouste was mainly used as a ground-based aircraft engine starter unit. Other uses included rotor tip propulsion for helicopters.

Rolls-Royce license-built Palouste
Type Gas turbine
National origin France
Manufacturer Turbomeca, Blackburn Aircraft, Rolls-Royce Limited, Lucas Aerospace
Major applications Sud-Ouest Djinn

Design and development

Designed and built by Turbomeca, the Palouste was also built under license in Britain by Blackburn and Rolls-Royce. Originally conceived as an aircraft ground support equipment starter gas generator, it was used also as propulsion for the Sud-Ouest Djinn and other tip-jet powered helicopters.

The Palouste was a very simple unit, its primary purpose being to supply a high flow rate of compressed air to start larger jet engines such as the Rolls-Royce Spey as installed in the Blackburn Buccaneer (this aircraft having no onboard starting system).[2] Air from the centrifugal compressor was divided between external supply (known as bleed air) and its own combustion chamber.

Several British naval aircraft were adapted to carry a Palouste in a wing-mounted pod installation to facilitate engine starting when away from base.[3]

A novel use of a surplus Palouste engine was its installation in a custom-built motorcycle known as the Boost Palouste. In 1986 this motorcycle broke an official ACU 1/4 mile speed record at 296 km/h (184 mph)). The builder modified the engine to include a primitive afterburner device and noted that pitch changes which occurred during braking and acceleration caused gyroscopic precession handling effects due to the rotating mass of the engine.


Palouste IV
The gas generator used to power the Sud-Ouest S.O.1221 Djinn and other tip-jet helicopters.
Palouste IVB[4]
Palouste IVC[4]
Palouste IVD[4]
Palouste IVE[4]
Palouste IVF[4]
Palouste 502
(P.102 and P.104) Blackburn / Bristol Siddeley / Rolls-Royce production for air-starter units.
A development of the Palouste delivering a higher mass flow of compressed air.[5]
Autan 2
1 x axial + 1 x centrifugal compressor stages


Specifications (Palouste 4)

Data from Flight :BRITISH POWER UNITS 1953,[6][7]

General characteristics

  • Type: Gas generator
  • Length: 1,233 mm (48.5 in)
  • Diameter: 478 mm (18.8 in)
  • Dry weight: 90 kg (200 lb)


  • Compressor: Single-stage centrifugal flow
  • Combustors: Annular combustion chamber
  • Turbine: Two-stage axial flow
  • Fuel type: Kerosene
  • Oil system: Dry sump, pressure sprqay at 300 kPa (43 psi)


  • Maximum power output: 190 hp (140 kW) equivalent air horsepower at 33,000 rpm at sea level
  • Overall pressure ratio: 3.8:1
  • Air mass flow: 3.5 kg/s (460 lb/min) at 34,000 rpm
  • Turbine inlet temperature: TIT 1,070 K (800 °C) ; JPT 793 K (520 °C) at 34,000 rpm
  • Fuel consumption: 110 kg/h (240 lb/h)
  • Oil consumption: 0.2 kg/h (0.44 lb/h)
  • Thrust-to-weight ratio:
  • Air output: 1.1 kg/s (150 lb/min) at 350 kPa (51 psi) at 33,000 rpm

See also

Related development

Comparable engines

Related lists


  1. Gunston 1989, p.170.
  2. "PROVING THE BUCCANEER". Flight International. 81 (2760): 168. 1 February 1962. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  3. "Aircraft Ground Power Units.." Flight International. 87 (2924): 456. 25 March 1965. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  4. Wilkinson, Paul H. (1964). Aircraft engines of the World 1964-65 (20th ed.). Washington D.C.: Paul H. Wilkinson. p. 168.
  5. Bridgman, Leonard (1955). Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1955-56. London: Jane's all the World's Aircraft Publishing Co. Ltd.
  6. "BRITISH POWER UNITS 1953". Flight. LXIV (2328). 3 September 1953. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  7. Wilkinson, Paul H. (1957). Aircraft engines of the World 1957 (13th ed.). London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons Ltd. p. 62.

Further reading

  • Gunston, Bill (1998). World encyclopaedia of aero engines (4th ed.). Sparkford, Nr Yeovil, Somerset, [England]: Patrick Stephens. ISBN 978-1852605971.
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