de Havilland Propellers

de Havilland Propellers
de Havilland Propellers
Industry Aviation, engineering
Fate Ceased aircraft equipment manufacture
Successor Hawker Siddeley Dynamics Ltd
Founded 1935
Defunct 1961
Headquarters Lostock, Bolton, Lancs.
Products Propellers, fans, missiles
Parent de Havilland Aircraft

de Havilland Propellers was established in 1935, as a division of the de Havilland Aircraft company when that company acquired a license from the Hamilton Standard company of America for the manufacture of variable pitch[1] propellers[2]. The division was incorporated as a separate company on 27 April 1947[3].


Post war production

After the war, the company diversified; originally a propeller manufacturer it developed a wide range of products. The de Havilland Propeller company, became involved in guided-weapon work in 1951[4]. In that year the company received a contract from the Ministry of Supply for the development of a compact turbo-alternator to meet electrical power requirements of missiles developed by other companies. In the same year a second contract was received for the development of an infra-red homing head. When these contracts had been successfully completed the M.o.S. awarded the company a development contract for a complete weapon system for an air-to-air missile with infra-red homing guidance. Originally under the project designation Blue Jay, later to be Firestreak. Production of the Firestreak was shared between all the U.K. plants of de Havilland Propellers:- Hatfield was responsible for design, research and development; Lostock manufactured a proportion of the weapon (the remainder being sub-contracted) and was also responsible for assembly and testing; Farnworth carried out manufacture and assembly of development rounds; and the factory at Walkden handled all production assembly. Woomera, Australia and Aberporth were used for test firing. The company was also responsible for the Blue Streak rocket, Britain's own nuclear missile. Although cancelled in 1960 as a weapon, the technology went into providing Europe with an indigenous satellite launcher. Blue Streak as first stage of the Europa rocket, it performed flawlessly with every flight and bears the distinction of being the only rocket to have a 100% success rate in test firing. During preliminary investigations regarding the propellent system of Blue Streak, which DHP were the prime contractors, engineers from de Havilland's visited the Convair Division of the Dynamics Corporation in the United States to discuss problems associated with refuelling. A reciprocal technical information agreement existed between the two firms.

Associated products

The use of epoxy resin/glass fibre-reinforced plastics for airscrew spinners, blade root fairings and other components were also developed extensively by de Havilland Propellers Ltd. at their Stevenage plant. Dr. Norman de Bruyne, FREng, FRS (Aero Research Limited), successfully developed the use of reinforced phenol-formaldehyde resins in the manufacture of variable pitch propellers for de Havilland's. The attraction of this material was that, with a density of about a one half that of aluminium alloy, centrifugal forces at the root were correspondingly reduced. Other products included the production of radar scanners and also the erection of a wind driven[5] electricity-generator for (Enfield Cables, Ltd.)The first industrial-scale electricity-generating wind turbines to be built in the UK were constructed under the direction of the British Electrical and Allied Industries Research Association (more commonly known as the Electrical Research Association, or simply the ERA) during the 1950s and 1960s. de Havilland Propellers Ltd., erected during 1953 in St. Albans a 24 m diameter 2-bladed Enfield-Andreau type turbine. Other components produced at the company’s Lostock works were De Havilland Comet undercarriages.

See also


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