Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

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Indiana Museums - Aviation, Military, Automotive and Fire

Rolls-Royce Heritage Center - Allison Branch
Indianapolis, IN
Date visited:  3-26-2014

Change of venue:  At the end of 2015 the Heritage Center closed at its former location on Raymond Street.  It has reopened at a new location two blocks to the east of Lucas Oil Stadium.  The Heritage Center is now in the north Rolls-Royce building.  Entrance is on the east side of the building.  Photos below are from the former Raymond Street location.

The Rolls-Royce Heritage Center, Allison Brach at the Rolls-Royce Training Center on west Raymond Street in Indianapolis, IN is a rare gem of corporate history.  Although the Heritage Center is primarily for the use and historical education of its employees, suppliers and customers, it is also open to the public on working days during the week.  It is very obvious from the quality of the displays that the company and the retirees and current employees that work on and them do not settle for anything but the finest quality.  For those that are interested in aviation, Allison or Rolls-Royce, or the change in engine technology over the past 100 years, this should be high on one's list to visit.

In 1995 Allison was purchased by the Rolls-Royce Company.

Hours are limited to working days as shown at the bottom of this page along with a phone number to call to verify the the Center will be open.

  Guests need to register with the receptionist at the entrance to the building.  He/she will provide a pass and remotely open the security door to let you into the corridor.  Once inside the Heritage Center one can take photos.  Those below are a sample of what one will find here.


Stepping inside the Heritage Center and looking down the east wall, one sees a large collection of mostly jet engines and a large collection of displays, photos and model aircraft.  All of the photos and models represent the aircraft that both Allison internal combustion and jet engines were or still are used on. 


This cutaway of an Allison built J71 axial flow jet engine was used in several aircraft to include the B-66 and F3H along with the early models of the SM-62 Snark.  For those that like see how things work, this model spins and shows both the engine configuration in normal and afterburner flight.  The handle by the yellow arrow turns on the display.


Within a display case showing Allison engines applications is a model of the Snark and the F3H Demon.


Here is the entire model display case that was originally in Allison Plant 3.


Along the south half of the east wall is a collection of Rolls-Royce jet engines.


This photo from the front entrance towards the SW shows more engines, flags of customer countries, more models and an Aeroproducts propeller from a Lockheed Electra.  Allison acquired the sister GM division that had previously been located in Vandalia, OH in 1960, and built propellers for its turbine engines until 1977.


In the 1970's Allison did developmental work on automotive and truck gas turbines and several models of the work done on this are displayed in the SW corner of the room.


Something I did not know and learned is that Allison provided fuel tanks for not only the space program but ICBMs.  On the right a second stage Minuteman tank.


One can not have an Allison display without at least one V-1710 on display.  This is one of two located at the Heritage Center and is the type used in the the P-40.


This is one of only 160 Allison V-3420s that were built.  Four of them ended up powering a modified B-29 that was designated the B-39 and was 100 mph faster than the radial powered B-29.


This display shows all of the engines Allison and Rolls-Royce have produced for the US Navy and Marine Corps over the years.


This is a Bristol Pegasus engine that was used on the AV-8A/B Harriers.  Through a number of acquisitions Rolls-Royce ended up with the ownership of the former Bristol company.


Again, for those that like to see how things work, activating the lever at the yellow arrow moves the nozzles from hover to forward motion.  They can be stopped in any position at the display.


This is a sample of current production by Rolls-Royce in Central Indiana, as this is the lift fan for the F-35B being produced in Plainfield, IN just to the west of Indianapolis.


Another view of the lift fan.


Want to go really fast?  This is an example of the Olympus 593 jet engine that powered the supersonic Concorde airliner.


This 1/5 display of the intake and engine demonstrates how supersonic air coming into the intake is slowed down to sub-sonic speeds before entering the engine.




Going from the large and fast Olympus, one can view the Allison Model 250 turbine weighing in at a whopping 108 lbs and providing 250 shaft hp that was used to power a whole series of small helicopters including the Hughes OH-6 used extensively in the Vietnam conflict.


While the Allison V-1710 is the engine most identified with Allison due it is World War Two usage, in the post war the T-56 series of turbines have been its "bread and butter" production engine.  Shown here with the gear reduction system and propeller, Allison has produced over 18,000 of these since 1954.  Above the engine display are models of the aircraft that the T-56 has and continues to power which includes the C-130, P-3 and E-2C.

 
And no Rolls-Royce engine display would be complete without a Merlin engine that was used to power Spitfires and Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain.


 

 

 


 
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