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  1. #1
    Mike RzMachine is offline Aluminum
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    Default OT - WWI Reproduction Rotary Engine

    Here are some video's of a slick WW1 rotary that a group built.

    Engine Running
    http://thevintageaviator.co.nz/proje...ne/urii-action

    Some Machining of the parts
    http://thevintageaviator.co.nz/proje...g-parts-ur2-02

    -Mike

  2. #2
    PaulJr. is offline Aluminum
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    Way cool, no wonder so many blew up with fuel leaking and unreliable and haveing to turn the ignition on/off to land etc( no carburator ) . Must have made one pretty hairy experience for first ( and maybe second) time fliers.....

  3. #3
    David Utidjian's Avatar
    David Utidjian is online now Titanium
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    That is one bizarre crankshaft setup. I don't think I have seen anything quite like the "thrust block" arrangement as was used in the UR2 before. Purrrs real nice though.

    -DU-

  4. #4
    Mike C. is offline Diamond
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    "Must have made one pretty hairy experience for first ( and maybe second) time fliers.....
    "

    Yeah, the rotary was a handful to fly. Add to that the rotation mass delaying the reduction or application of power with that cutting ignition in or out...

    "oops, too high. Just knock off some power here... Danged! it's not coming down! Maybe a little more.... Whoa... NOW it's coming down! PLEASE speed up!"

    Must have been a real learning curve.

    Also, that thing was a huge gyroscope. You pitch up, you also yaw/roll to one side (depending on rotation direction), pitch down, vice versa. Yaw left, pitch up or down, vice versa. The plane had to be flown in quadrants instead of direct control inputs. Every movement resulting in another at 90 degrees. If a new pilot got really scared and started yanking the controls around, it could create enough gyroscopic force to bend the mounts or even tear the entire engine off the firewall.

    All that said, it was an extremely compact, lightweight and powerful engine for the day. The 180hp Gnome et Rhone on the big Nieuport 28 weighed only half as much as the Jenny's Curtiss OX-5 V-8 and put out twice the power. About a quarter the number of parts, too.

  5. #5
    Matty5700 is offline Plastic
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    I am very impressed by this engine, i've never seen anything like it before and there is a very good reason for it !!

    Matt.

  6. #6
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    gwilson is offline Diamond
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    That is the nicest website I have ever seen.

  7. #7
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    I know my computer is a pos., but even with road runner the video was "buffering" for a half hour so in the end I gave up and moved on.

  8. #8
    David Utidjian's Avatar
    David Utidjian is online now Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwilson View Post
    That is the nicest website I have ever seen.
    They obviously have some money to spend on the presentation. Just about all the photos are perfect (to my eyes anyhow.) The workshop is nice and clean, well lit and roomy. Did you see the gun room? Place is more like a spa than a workshop.

    -DU-

  9. #9
    Phil is offline Aluminum
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    Rotary engines of this type were also known in automobiles. Cases in point were the Bailey made in Springfield, MA, the Intrepid made in Boston, the Balzer in NYC and the Adams-Farwell of Dubuque, IA. The latter was available in both 3 and 5 cylinder models. The A-F had a pull-up lever on the floorboard for starting. The company also advertised that, "The car can be started just as well, however, by reaching in the back (it was rear-engined) and simply grabbing hold of one of the cylinders and yanking on it - if it has been running recently, an asbestos glove is strongly recommended."

  10. #10
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    david n is offline Titanium
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    Wouldn't this be a rotary radial engine?

  11. #11
    stephen thomas is offline Diamond
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    ...and a few motorcycles, too.


    Netflix finally got Hells Angels in (the original Howard Hughes movie about ww1) Made in 1929, they still had a huge fleet of rotary engined planes left. Can be heard to good effect in a few mass take off scenes with the cut-outs blipping, and a lot of evasive maneuvering.

    smt

  12. #12
    Mike C. is offline Diamond
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    Nearly two decades ago, there was a WWI replica fighter museum an hour north of me. The had two airshows/WWI fly-ins. I was lucky enough to make the second, and unfortunately final one.

    In attendance were three real live flying rotaries, one on a genuine Thomas-Morse scout plane. I got the full experience... the sound and the smell of castor oil. The sound was almost turbine like. I expected a nasty two stroke crackle, but it is more just a whooosh. Blip switch approaches and landings were just amazing. The castor oil odor was overwhelming, totally covering the smell of avgas and anything else.

    Sadly the owner of that museum, Frank Ryder, was killed about six months later in a plane crash near Chicago. His entire immediate family died as well, so there was nobody to carry on the dream. The museum was sold off slowy over the years and is now only a memory. Sad, because it was truly like entering another time to experience these machines.

  13. #13
    SteveF is offline Stainless
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    I was there for one of those shows, I think it was 1994. The plane I remember was the full size Fokker DVII that was built by a retired American Airlines mechanic out of Tulsa. His son-in-law was telling me he had about 7000 hours into it. He even made new instrument faces that exactly matched the originals, labeled in German too. Extremely well made.

    Steve.

  14. #14
    Mike C. is offline Diamond
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    Was that the camo print one with the inverted inverted Ranger (it sat right side up like the Mercedes or BMW)? That was indeed impressive. That one really lit me up. It was a lot bigger than I had envisioned, especially when compared to the Nieuports, D.IIIS and such. I loved that Shuckert-Siemens interceptor, little barrel shaped biplane with a four blade prop and purple wings. It was a real rocketship.

    The 1994 show was held at Gadsden airport instead of the home field of Guntersville. It was a much larger airport with far more display area and two good long interesecting runways. The museum itself, and the first show, was at Guntersville. The runway actually stretched out into the lake. Closest thing to an aircraft carrier I will probably ever land on!

    Still got the hat from that show.

  15. #15
    SteveF is offline Stainless
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    That was the one. It was so big because just about every other plane was scaled down, 3/4 or 2/3 seemed popular. Yea, I know you get more speed with less horsepower by scaling it down but damn it, if you are going to make a copy of a historical aircraft, make it a full size replica!

    Then again, if I could I'd love to make a full size Curtiss Jenny and that will just barely fit in the hangers at my local airport. For any Jenny fans, here's someone doing it right - http://curtissjennyrestoration.blogspot.com/

    I think I have a pile of pictures around somewhere from Gadsden.

    Steve.

  16. #16
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    The late cole palin's outfit is the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and they run aircraft
    with rotary engines in them frequently. A good discussion of them can be found
    on their web site.

    I think the recent death of one of their pilots happened when he was flying
    their Spad which does have a rotary.

    Rotary engines of the period were amazing items, the power/weight ratio was
    unmatched. The meant time between overhauls was measured in tens of hours
    IIRC.

    There's nothing like sitting behind a rotary like that when they juice it up for
    starting. They always point the tail of the plane right at the crowd and then
    light it off. The cloud of castor oil smoke is impressive. They always have a
    couple of guys standing by with fire bottles because sometimes the inside
    of the cowling gets a bit *too* juiced up!

    Jim

  17. #17
    stephen thomas is offline Diamond
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    I first saw the Cole Palin airshow (Old Rhinebeck) ca. fall of 1971. Rode a Triumph Bonneville from MD with GF on back. Great trip.

    They had a _lot_ of rotary engined AC flying that weekend. Besides the ones being flown (plus other non-rotary) there were another couple just positioned along the flight line, one of which was fired up to waft the crowd as Jim mentions & taxied but not flown.

    IIRC, Thomas-Morse was made up here in Ithaca. One of the better planes of it's time. But apparently they didn't get the manufacturing part down fast enough.

    My Grandfather owned 1/6th share in a Gnome (rotary) powered Bleriot before ww1. But he never got to fly it (probably a good thing, he was a sailor, not a pilot) because one of the other partners demolished it first. I had always sort of discounted the story of "grandpa owning an airplane" and assumed if true, probably something mundane like a Jenny. But more recently read a 1940's newspaper interview including a reminiscence about the event.

    smt

  18. #18
    GregSY is offline Diamond
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    Steve, do you know the name of the AA mechanic from Tulsa? I might know him.

  19. #19
    hockeysew is offline Aluminum
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    Also, that thing was a huge gyroscope. You pitch up, you also yaw/roll to one side (depending on rotation direction), pitch down, vice versa. Yaw left, pitch up or down, vice versa. The plane had to be flown in quadrants instead of direct control inputs. Every movement resulting in another at 90 degrees. If a new pilot got really scared and started yanking the controls around, it could create enough gyroscopic force to bend the mounts or even tear the entire engine off the firewall.
    It is rumored that Von Richtofen had his engine re-worked to rotate the opposite direction from the norm. It is alleged that it gave him a quicker turning radius to the side of rotation. None of the allied plans could turn as quickly in that direction which gave Richtofen an edge in combat.

  20. #20
    Norman Atkinson is offline Titanium
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    Default OT- Rotary Engines

    But who had the most to gain from the death of the Red Baron?

    Now there's a question.

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