A Closer Look at the Spey Engine


Rolls-Royce has manufactured jet engines since 1915, and has pioneered innovative aviation technology since very early in the industry. Companies like Airbus and Boeing continue to look to them for engines. Although it is no longer the same Rolls-Royce that builds cars—the two split in 1973—their engines have powered civil and military aircraft for over a century.

In 1958, Rolls-Royce embarked on an entirely new transport powerplant: the Spey. The engine was named after the River Spey in northeastern Scotland, one of the longest and fastest flowing rivers in the country. Rolls-Royce jet engines have traditionally been named after British rivers, intended to reflect their steady flow of power. A Rolls-Royce engine is given a numeric designation while in development, ahead of its official name which is assigned when the engine is ready for use.

In 1960, the Spey emerged as a 10,000 lb. thrust by-pass engine with an innovative fuel system that was radically advanced for its time. Its two-part combustion system was developed for noise reduction, and to provide operational economy such as low fuel consumption, low maintenance costs and a long overhaul life.

Spey engines have accumulated over 50 million flying hours, with over 2,768 civil and military variants produced. They have been used in military aircraft such as the AMX strike aircraft, BAE SYSTEMS Nimrod MR2 patrol aircraft and military versions of the Gulfstream GII and GIII aircraft. Though the civil version is no longer in production, they powered the Gulfstream GII and GIII executive aircraft, the BAC 1-11 and Fokker F28.

At National Aviation Academy (NAA), we understand that exposure to industry equipment is necessary for well-rounded training. Students can get a closer look at a Spey just by walking through the halls of the Tampa Bay campus. The engine was recently moved from the Tampa Bay hangar so that students are able to analyze it at their leisure.

Familiarity with industry history, standards and language is a beneficial to anyone wanting to work in aviation. NAA students acquire these skills, in addition to completing hands-on training with relevant tools and equipment, to prepare them for work. Quality training and industry knowledge well position NAA graduates for high-earning, in-demand and lasting careers in aviation.