The Lycoming T53, is a free-turbine turboshaft engine used on helicopters and fixed-wing turboprop aircraft. It was designed at the Lycoming Turbine Engine Division in Stratford, Connecticut by a team headed by Anselm Franz, who was the chief designer of the famed Junkers Jumo 004 during World War II. The Lycoming T55 is a much larger engine, but similar in overall design. Both engines are still in production by Honeywell Aerospace. The museums cutaway was gratefully donated by the Honeywell Corporation.
The T53’s front-drive, concentric-shaft arrangement set a widely accepted U.S. design standard for turboshaft engines, and gave Lycoming its start in the aircraft gas turbine business. The gas turbine and it’s related technology contributed to expansion of Army aviation’s air-mobility during the Viet Nam War. During Viet Nam AVCO / Lycoming in Stratford Connecticut ran three shifts building gas turbines for the war effort. Much like the Corsair assembly line in the 1940’s, Avco / Lycoming ran at full production for the duration of the war.
The Lycoming T53 engine made its debut as the T53-L-1 in the Bell UH-1 Iroquois Helicopter, aka The Huey. In addition the Bell AH-1 Cobra utilizes the same engine. Over the last 3 decades many upgrades have been made to the T53, culminating in the latest version, the T53-L-703, with 1,800 shaft horsepower.