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  1. During the 1950s Blackburn Aircraft wanted to venture into the world of light gas turbines to replace their line of small piston engines. They struck a licencing deal with Turbomeca of France to Produce and develop the Palas light turbojet. Three versions of the basic Palas followed, one which could bleed off the excess air to be used for hot gas tip propulsion or air start, the Palouste one with an extra turbine stage, reduction gearbox and generator, as an onboard Auxilary Power Unit, the Artouste and one with a rear gearbox and drive, the Turmo, a coupled version of this was also produced. Blackburn engines were later subsumed by Bristol-Siddeley, which in turn was taken over by Rolls Royce. Blackburn produced an air start pod using the Palouste engine, this used air bleed from the turbine assembly which could then be fed through a hose to start aircraft gas turbine engines. The Royal Navy was an obvious candidate for the pod as it could be carried on the hardpoint of an aircraft, allowing the starter pod to be deployed with an aircraft or squadron if they hand to land away from base or the parent carrier. The compact shape of the pod also made it ideal for carrier deck use. Palouste pods evolved and changed slightly during their production life, the earlier ones look more bulbous and had twin nose wheels, and what looks to be a fully retractable undercarriage. The later pods seem to vary a little as well, some have a proper inlet door (see the Gannet pic) some have the pylon shoe integral with the pod (like the one below), while some don't. Some also gained a top hamper, i'm guessing for easier hose stowage (see the Sea Vixen pic) The nose wheel unfastens using pip pins, and I think the mainwheels must unfasten and then they are put in the rear hose stowage compartment. I would say that the wheels/track is no wider than the body, so say 2ft. From front to back you have the fuel tank, controls/instrument panel and battery bay, engine inlets and starter section (including back-up hand crank handle!), the Palouste engine, exhaust, and then the hose stowage bay. The pod is often pictured with the whole aft section removed for running. I'm not sure why the tail section is shaped like it is, but I wonder if the hose to aircraft coupling fits in there or something Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod dims by James Thomas, on Flickr A: Overall length 12' 9 1/4" (153 1/4") 389.25mm B: Maximum width 24" 60.96mm C: Nose to leading edge of pylon shoe 35" 88.9mm D: Length of pylon shoe at pod body top 64 1/2" 163.83mm E: Nose to undercarriage mid point 72" 182.88mm F: Pod aft edge to end of tail part 3 1/4" 8.25mm G: Aft edge to jet pipe door aft edge 13 1/4" 33.65mm H: Aft edge to jet pipe door fwd edge 60" 152.4mm C1: Widest circumference 80" 203.2mm C2: Aft edge of pod circumference 46" 116.84mm C3: Tail part to pod constant circumference 37" 93.98mm Wheel track 24" approx 60.96mm Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Exhaust and hose stowage door open Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Controls/instrument panel and engine inlet doors open Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by JamesThomas,on Flickr Controls/instrument panel Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Connection for the starter air hose to the starting aircraft Blackburn Palouste Air Starter Airborne Pod by James Thomas, on Flickr Fuel cap Many thanks to John at Horizon for allowing me access to this pod.
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