the moments that made us

The moments that made us


First UK-manufactured prototype propeller blade engineered by Rolls Royce & Bristol (Rotol) in Staverton for use on the Hawker Hart bomber. Our relationship with powering Rolls Royce engines begins here.

1937 – 1938

Rotol manufactures thousands of propellers for many of Britain’s iconic piston-engine aircraft, including: Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane, Halifax, Wellington.


World’s first flight on the pioneer of turboprop power, the Gloucester Trent Meteor – first British jet fighter – fitted with Rolls Royce engines and five-bladed propellers from Rotol.


Rotol breaks into the commercial market with the first scheduled turboprop service on the Vickers Viscount, designed for economic cruising speeds over medium ranges. The logical choice for the Viscount, Rotol metallic propellers combined with a Rolls Royce Dart engine.


Now Dowty Rotol, the growth of business for Dart-powered aircraft continues strongly throughout the 1960s.

1. Armstrong Whitworth Argosy – 1960

2. Handley Page Herald – 1961

3. Avro 748 – 1962

4. Fairchild-Hiller FH227 – 1966


First fibreglass propeller is developed and introduced. Now with customers all over the world, Dowty receives the Queen’s Award to Industry for Export Achievement.


Dowty designs and develops the world’s first blade manufactured from all-composite materials – stronger, lighter – and its new propeller system equips the Saab 340 regional aircraft.


First foray for Dowty into supplying propellers for amphibious military craft – Textron Systems’ Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) represented the most modern amphibious warfare technology and Dowty designed a new propeller concept tailored to it. Favoured by the United States Navy’s Assault Craft Units and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force as a vehicle that can traverse snow, marsh, ice, tundra and sand, and is capable of traversing obstacles as high as four feet on land.


Another world-first – an electronic constant speed and synchrophase control system – is certificated for use on the Dutch-made Fokker 50 regional airliner, which incorporated Pratt & Whitney turboprop engines for the first time.


Dowty received certification of the first full FADEC-integrated electronic propeller control system, developed for the Saab 2000, a stretched derivative of the Saab 340. 


The first full electric control system with a Pratt & Whitney engine and a single removable blade system is certified for the Bombardier Dash 8 Q-400 and our relationship with De Havilland of Canada begins.


A return to work with military craft for Dowty through a six bladed all-composite propeller system for Lockheed Martin’s upgraded Hercules, the C130J, a workhorse designed to operate in the harshest environments, and which is destined to become a favourite of military forces across the world.


All-composite propellers are certified for use on the Alenia/LM C-27J Spartan, military transport craft and favourite of the Italian Air Force.


Now regarded as the propeller supplier of choice for rugged, hostile and challenging environments, Dowty revisits military amphibious aircraft and designs a propeller system for ShinMaywa’s US-2 four-engine craft with short take-off and landing (STOL) capability and powered by Rolls-Royce engines. Dowty opens its wholly-owned MRO site in Sterling, Virginia.


Dowty wins a contract to supply propellers for the Textron Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC), an update of the US Navy LCAC Hovercraft introduced in 1986 with Dowty Rotol equipment. Textron Systems’ latest air cushioned landing craft is capable of accessing more than 80% of the world’s shorelines from Artic to tundra.


Dowty Propellers inaugurates its expanded maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Brisbane, Australia – enhancing the services capability for Dash 8-400, Saab 340 and Fokker 50 regional airliner fleets in the Asia Pacific region.


A devastating fire fully destroys the Dowty operating headquarters and blade manufacturing facility. Within nine monthsDowty Propellers re-created the complete blade manufacturing capability for its propeller systems. Operating from an interim facility, Dowty continued supporting its customers and keeping their aircraft in the air. The recovery from the fire earned Dowty an ‘Award to Industry from the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers & Coach Harness Makers of London.


A purpose-built new facility opens at Gloucester Business Park in the UK, offering a state-of-the-art manufacturing operation along with major MRO capability and housing HQ functions. The 183,000 sq ft facility boasts all-new equipment and operates on 100% renewable energy sources.


Dowty’s focus is firmly on the future and the role it can play in the global push towards zero-carbon aviation. Through extensive R&D in aeroacoustics and aerodynamics, Dowty continues to drive for improvement margins in the weight and noise of its propellers whilst simultaneously engaging with digitalisation and advanced manufacturing techniques and world-leading testing capabilities. The future for next generation turboprops is bright.