7-1/2 Hour WEP test on R-2800

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Sal Monella

Airman 1st Class
Apr 20, 2005
Redwood City
No doubt contributed to one of the the Thunderbolt's nicknames - "Indestructible"

You know, for years I heard of the story of a hellish torture test of an R-2800. The story had a mythical proportion to it. I mean, these guys would pour on the WEP for what, 5-10 minutes at a pop? I could see an engine surviving 1/2 hour of that torture but for about a 1/3 of a day straight?

Anyway, I came across it on the Spitfire Performance Testing site. There is a wealth of stuff on there but you have to dig for it. It isn't all linked on the first page.

P Ws in the Jug often returned home with as many as 5 cylinders shot out. Can't do that in a liquid-cooled!

"Often" is not the word I would use. In a survey of 500 US aircraft in PTO (all single radial-engines) only 30% made it home after an engine hit. The study was in 44 iirc. Most of the strikes were mg. In ETO with more planes mounting 20mm/30mm then there's hardly any chance of surviving an engine hit.

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