View Full Version : RR Griffon 65

8th Aug 2012, 08:47
I wonder if any of you could help me to determine the answer that is eveading my search,

Last evening I was invited along with a few other aero engine nutcases to look at a private collection of RR aero engines along with a nearly full late model Spitfire( certain parts are replica, A/C cannot be flown) and I came across a Griffon 65, fitted with contra props as was the Griffon 58 fitted to the Shackleton , this is where i need help,...

The Shack Griffon had two set of props L/H and R/H tractor on the same spindle with the rearmost blade being the greater diametre due to refinements discovered soon after going into service, the reason I was told by the Hawker engineers at the De Havilland Prop site in Horwich Lancashire was the larger rear blade stopped blade resonace and tip bending due to the supersonic airwaves when the two blades passed each other, and indeed whatever picture of the Shackleton you see all the blades follow that pattern.

The Griffon 65 I saw was indeed a contra prop engine due obviously to the fitting of the longer R/H tractor prop spindle, two props were fitted and all looked correct until I came nearer to the exhibit, the Griff 65 was fitted with the longer prop blade to the front with the shorter blade to the rear, I cannot remember any other fitting where the front prop was the longer(or greater in Diametre) as a guest of a guest to this private showing I felt Icould not pose a question that might have embarrased the owner of the said collection, so I pose this question to you experts here on this site, and that is ,...
What Aircraft fitted with the Griff 65 had the greater prop dia at the front, .

also in that private collection I had hands on a Napier Sabre engine, which I have been looking for since I first read about the unique and complex engine that was fitted to the Hawker Typhoon, what a superb and well engineered engine to say it was the 1940s when it was made, we really have had some brilliant engineering minds making power plants for our aircraft.

Any help with the RRgriff 65 would put my fevered brain to rest

My regards

Peter RB

8th Aug 2012, 09:41
The 65 was designed for left-hand tractor prop, see here;


Possibly the one you saw is a 65 with bits of a 58 incorporated, 58 parts are easier to find. If the engine is ground-runnable, then a cut-down contra prop is used, but that would be from a Shackleton. Sorry if that muddies the waters even further!

8th Aug 2012, 09:56
AFAIK, the contra-prop variants of the Griffon, apart from the 57/58 on the Shackleton, were the 8x and 9x series, used mainly on the Seafire 46 & 47, so I would Google for photos of those marks.

If you have a Griffin 65 with contra-props then it's definitely non-standard - the Spitfire XIV, XVIII and XIX that used the 65 were definitely single-prop.

8th Aug 2012, 11:25
You think the Napier Sabre was well engineered? Have a look at the cutaway example at Duxford and be dumbfounded.

Richard Woods
8th Aug 2012, 13:14

You are slightly mistaken, the Shackleton has the larger diameter on the front propellers. The rear ones are about 6 inches less in overall diameter.

Kind Regards,

Rich W

8th Aug 2012, 14:33
No Pax, Thank you for that I had not considered the possibility of the wrong front end being bolted on, more will need to be looked at.

DaveR also thank you, it looked wrong for the translation unit rotary sump was not where it should have been and the feathering pot was not connected correctly so that one push would feather both props.

Richard, I used to have two PPacks incl Props as gate gaurdians to my block of offices, the props were the ones fitted originall I think to WR orL790, I am now looking for the log book to show , but also I have a picture sent to me by 8sqdn, in return for some new spares that I had that they wanted and that clearly shows the rear prop is the larger Diam.
it seems sad now to admitto this but most of the Griffon 58s used by the pylon racers in the US originate from my warehouse, we purchased the last 10 ( all with a good to go ticket) sold off from the closing of 8 Squardons AEW Shackletons, along with about 160 boxes of props, from Brand new not used to older ones that had gone lifex but I have no pictures close up so I am now looking, what a job PRB

Richard Woods
8th Aug 2012, 17:47

I would hazard a guess that I am one of the few people in the UK that can say that this weekend I was fitting propellers onto a Shackleton. I wish you still had some of the prop parts as its been a devil of a task to track some parts down.

Anyway, I have the prop manual for the Shackleton at the side of me as I write this, and this is what it has to say..

AP 102P-001-1 Propeller Hawker Siddeley Dynamics Types DF178/334/1/2 and DB229/336/1 for Shackleton Aircraft

Chap 3 Para 2

The blade assemblies differonly in the swept diameter, which is 12 ft 4 1/2 in for the rear propeller and 13ft for the front propeller, the difference is partly due to difference in blade lengths and partly to a different relation of the blades to the propeller axis

Here's a shot of WR963 taken a few weeks ago, showing the difference.


Just to be sure we didn't get them on the wrong way, here's as she arrived at Coventry back in 1991. A new prop had been fitted on No 3 engine just before she left RAF Waddington.


I also thought we had the very last engines, as "penultimate", and "the last" are still in our store just outside Coventry, and they are marked as such on the engine dishpan fronts.



There were about 40 Griffons overhauled just before the sale of the Shackletons, along with a number of other spares. We got quite a bit, but another large portion went with the other Shackletons. It still amazes me where this stuff turns up.

Kind Regards,

Rich W

9th Aug 2012, 09:41
Hi Richard

your last post prove my old memory is totall shot , I will see what I have left and if any are what you want you can have them, give me a couple of days .

Where is the Shack you sent the picture of is it at EGBE.

if you have an email address you could PM it to me and then we wouldnt be burning the wick at pprune.

Catch up with you later


Richard Woods
9th Aug 2012, 14:22
Hi Peter,

Don't worry about it, memory is a funny thing and it often plays tricks.

The Shackleton in my picture is WR963 at Coventy (EGBE), we're there working on her every Saturday. Pop across and have a look one day if you get chance.

I've dropped you a pm with my e-mail address.

Kind Regards,


9th Aug 2012, 17:13

Re contra-props on RR Griffons, I concur with the above comments on which series' were so equipped. As is agreed, memory is a fickle thing. Dim and distant memories suggest to me late 50 series (57, 57A and 58 installed on Shackletons), 85 series to late model Seafires, and some vague recollection of 100 series test applications. But I may be incorrect.

The propeller diameter issue is thus. As stated by Richard Woods, the forward propeller is 13ft in diameter, the rear prop diameter is around six inches less. The reason for this is to prevent the rear propeller tips entering the tip vorticies off of the front prop tips. These vorticies could lead to disturbed localised airflow affecting the rear prop and there was a high probability that the rear prop could suffer from unnatural blade harmonic issues because of this.

In the end, the Shackleton had a prohibitted rev range between 2200 and 2400 rpm due to the natural harmonic frequency of the metal blades.

To compensate for the reduction in blade area of the rear propeller due to the decreased diameter, the blade profile is different from the front prop, appearing 'fatter' in chord for the outer half of the blades.

As to the rotary sump of the TU not looking 'correct', it may be that the one you saw in the private collection was an earlier model from Martin-Baker. They appeared considerably different from the later production units.

Hope this helps clear up your query.


A footnote:
8 was unique in many ways, and this self-contained, stand-alone squadron only required the minimum of external assistance. This squadron even had its own engine bay, the Shackleton Power Plant Bay within the 8 Squadron scheduled maintenance hangar, K16, at RAF Lossiemouth. Rik and Dave were two of the many wonderful characters that populated the Great Eight, right up to the end. They both worked in the Shackleton Power Plant Bay.

9th Aug 2012, 17:23
The RR Mk 19 and the RAF BBMF Mk 19 spitfires actually have Shackleton Griffons fitted, the final gearing in the front of the Engine were from I think a Firefly, to convert the engine to a single prop, though various cases had to be shaved to get the engines in.

Richard Woods
9th Aug 2012, 17:42
The Rolls Royce converted engine for the Spitfires/Firefly was allocated the reference RG30SM-S. There's an Airworthinesss Approval Note for RR's Spitfire XIV buried in the CAA's website that explains a bit about it.



Kind regards,

Rich W

12th Aug 2012, 14:04
In the distant past I posted some information about the Shack 58's that I had in my warehouseup here in Lancashire, they were airworthy and in huge mid blue packing cases, that if undoen needed my overhead gantry crane to remove, the enginnes were fully inhibited with alsorts of blue to pink moisture cards all over the place, with the engines themselves being in a big zipped up cocoon bag again with alsorts of moisture indicators on them, like wise the huge amount of boxes of propellors (for Shackletons) that I purchased from the MOD sales about 1993/4, these numbered about 160 boxes about 15ft long x about 24 " square, each box was a carpenters work of art with the two props each space and cossetted in really soft felt fully waterproofed with the two hubs feathering rods and translation unit, every item had a form describing what is was ( in Mil Speak) along with all the part numbers and varous gaskets and rubber seals, due to being contacted by the Pylon Racer Gary Levitz we needed to open all the boxes to see what we had(with tickets) hold ya breath, we had 70 sets of brand new (and refurbised ex Hawkers at Bolton) props, with 90 used and well used and some damaged, after taking advice we sifted the damaged ones out and scrapped them, all the good ones went to the Plyon racers, to fit into variouse single seaters including the one that finally destructed itself sending Gary Levitz to the big runway in the sky.
they fitted the Griffon 58 direct to the engine mounts of a highly modified P51, this also had lear jet wings grafted into it to try to get more speed, then they fitted the Shack Contra props, cut down the allow the nose to come level for take off and landing, they cut the props down on the apron using a tape measure and a power hack saw, when I asked them about balancing those cut down props they replied we just grind a bit here and there, I hope they wernt too supprised when Miss America tore itself to pieces, especially as they had taken out the centre spark pugs from the Griff 58 and substituted injectors for the NItro to go in when full throttle was asked for, if you want to try and see these pict I posted them under my old monica VfrpilotPB, you should find em.

Along with all this kit I sold new CSU's new Mags( I had 200 of those) new coils new prop bearings in fact you name it I had it along with all the special tools to fit and remove alsorts of kit, before I committed this kit to the US flyers I rang every museum in the UK who might have some interest....no one had any time to talk or space to hold such spares, sadly I too need the space and we scrapped 150 boxes of prop nose cones, intermediate cones and engine shrouds along with 50 8ft squre boxes of undercart frames and stub axles, hundreds of hydrualic rams for bombay doors and the huge rams for the radome

To those of you who now want such things, I did my damdest to find everyone who might want them, some of the props went to be hung up inside Schipol Airport some to private collectors, but all the working stuff went to the states.
I hope I have not ruined your weekend or bored you all.

Peter RB

12th Aug 2012, 16:54
Some shackleton Griffons were auctioned off recently in Britain. Anyone know how much they went for?

Richard Woods
12th Aug 2012, 18:24

Sometimes you get lucky and the scrappers sell stuff on, particularly aviation parts. Its a shame no-one took you up on the offer of parts, but getting a quick decision from a museum is often difficult.

The time frame was some 15 years before I came to the Shackleton Preservation Trust. In the mid - 1990's they had just paid quite a bit of money (and probably decimated their budget at the time) to do something quite impressive and unique - they bought the archive and Design Rights to the Shackleton from British Aerospace. I don't believe BAe have done this for any other aircraft they hold rights for.

We have a couple of rear propellers in the wonderful packing crates you mention; indeed most of the ex-MOD parts we come across are similarly well packed. It makes modern packing techniques seem very inadequate!

Don't worry about spoiling anyone's weekend; the fact that you sold quite a bit means that parts are out there somewhere. If they can't be found when needed, the drawings survive so things can be re-made. It just takes a little longer is all.

Kind Regards


14th Aug 2012, 11:53

Look out for a private e mail, re parts, also forgive the handle of Keith, he was actuall sat here with me whilst I was pressing buttons, a little Auto suggestion, I thought I was past that, I hope I dont hear running water.


Richard Woods
14th Aug 2012, 16:26

Got it, many thanks! :)


16th Aug 2012, 16:01
The Single Shaft Reduction Gear Conversion was in fact achieved by a Superb Brilliant Bespoke Mustang and Merlin Rebuilder-Dave Zeutchell.In the middle 70s,he came over with Lloyd Hamilton to look at and maybe buy some of Doug Arnold's stock of recently acquired Warbirds.At the same time Ormand Haydon Baillie had found and bought a stack of derelict Griffon Spits from India.Spencer Flack was rebuilding at his home near Radlett,a Mk14.At that time BBMF had spare Griffons,but the RNHF Firefly was a very cobbled together 74/66 as I seem to remember,which imposed severe Boost limitations!All parties together with a Strike Command 2 ringer from PropEng Propulsion4,formed a steering committee to discuss the lack of suitable engines.Only the RR Mk14 had good life left,but was to end its days later at Woodford.Dave Zeutchell offered to build a prototype single shaft reduction gear conversion for the 57 and 58 Shack Griffons of which there were plenty.Enter Tony Harold,from the RAF Museum,who found at Farnborough and also Bedford that the Wind Tunnels were so powered and had amassed enough spares to power them for ages.Thus a plentiful supply was extant.RNHF Tasked Chief Ron Gourlay to fit a 58 Griffon dummy into the spare Firefly fuselage in the Museum,with Chief" Greenie"Slim Hewitt,to make up the loom required for Electrics and Ignition.A prototype was produced by late 70s and Johnny Jones and Johnny Danes from Rolls Royce Bristol Heritage Engines at Filton,did various Destruction Tests after which Zeutchell produced conversions were offered for the Mod Approval,then CAA Approval followed having had the RR Approval.Early 80s this was achieved and the Flack Mk14 flew with Ray Hanna in the Biggin Hill Airshow.Meanwhile Dave was killed in a F86,and Ormand was killed in his Cavalier P51 I-BILL,Lloyd died with a large scotch in his hotel,having left the Airlines and joined Frank Sanders(Also killed in a T33 later) with the Modded Sea Furies,now racing his A26.Tony Harold was killed later in a Nieuport,so very few are still around who were involved with the Flying and Restoration of these aeroplanes.However everyone operating these Engines today,owe a debt of gratitude to these dedicated people,who are sadly no longer with us.It is very likely NO One in this day and age has ever heard of how it was achieved,let alone these names.