Continental XI-1430 Hyper engine sucking resources from V-1710

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, May 25, 2015.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Should the US Army hyper engine and the Continental XI-1430 projects have been cancelled and the resources invested in development of the V-1710 and its derivatives?
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #2 Shortround6, May 25, 2015
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
    The Continental XI-1430 project WAS one of the US Army hyper engines. Continental acting as the workshop under contract to the Army. For a number of years Continental did nothing the Army didn't design or pay for. Continental put very little of their own money into the project, at least until rather late. As I understand it a few engineers left Continental and went to Lycoming to work on the other Hyper engine. Lycoming sank around 1/2 million of their own money inot the O-1230 project along with whatever funds the Army "gave" them. "Gave" being a rather bad description of what the Army was doing at the time. Everything from 2 cylinder test rigs to compete engines were piece-mealed out as individual contracts and performance goals/tests had to be satisfactorily completed in order for the army to pay. Two cylinder test rig throws a rod in hour 19 of a 20 hour test? Company has to make new rod/s, repair/rebuild test rig and compete the 20 hour test all at company expense before the Army comes across with even a dime. Lets not forget the Army owed Allison over $900,000 dollars in 1939 for work already done. So even if your test engine meets the Army specifications and test conditions it doesn't mean the Army would actually pay on time (or even close to on time).
    Companies could see the potential profits but couldn't afford to sink too much time/money into their respective projects in any one year until the Army got a LOT freer with the money. Continental and Lycoming were both major engine makers of car/bus/truck and industrial engines in addition to aircraft engines. They weren't going to sink the company funding hyper aircraft engines out of their own pockets/profits. They could continue on make quite a nice profit on their other engines without selling a single high power aircraft engine.

    Army needed to get it's head out of it's butt and admit the Hyper engine was going nowhere and since that didn't happen until around 1944 or so It doesn't seem likely.

    Next problem is getting the Continental (Or Lycoming) engineers to go work for Allison when both companies had not only small aircraft engines (including 9 cylinder radials) but the already mentioned ground engines.
     
  3. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    The V-1710 seems like one of the more obvious areas additional military funding would be useful (given their limitations on internal development resources), but wouldn't ... less extreme focus on the XI-1430 also benefit some of the other engine projects? The XI-2220 seems like it may have been one of the more viable developments there, and the only somewhat conventional 2-bank V inline being developed in that power class. (albeit a V-16, but maybe more practical development wise than Allison's V-3420, granted, a larger V-12 of more the Griffon, Jumo 213, or possibly DB-603 probably would have been a more realistic approach that no American Manufacturer seems to have taken, but the V-16 arrangement also had advantages in frontal area)
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Had the Army funded the development of an integrated, 2-stage supercharger for teh Allison V-1710, it might have been a great high-altitude engine. You can do it today with twin turbos.'

    But we know they didn't, and I do not see how engineers working for other companies had any effect whatsoever on the V-1710's development. Yes, Allison was short on engineers, but I doubt they would have been free with V-1710 design data for engineers working on a temporary basis from other companies that competed with Allison in the marketplace.

    Working with Joe Yancey, we heard stories of engineers being "loaned" to other companies to solve problems during the war, but those stories ceased with VE day. Things that might have been possible in wartime were much less so when half the war was suddenly over.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that there was a whole lot of "loaning" or information swapping going on before Sept of 1939 or perhaps the summer of 1940. That doesn't leave much time or room to "improve" the V-1710 as they were already working on the short nose version at that time while putting the long nose into production. Since both Continental and Lycoming probably knew less about superchargers than Allison did I am not seeing any sudden breakthrough there even if they swap information/engineers.
    Remember that both hyper engines were "Army" babies and as such were pretty much planned from the get go for turbo-chargers which would be supplied by General Electric.
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I never passed those stories on in here because I never gave them much credence. It was a case of my uncle had a friend who worked for XYZ engines and said, " ...

    Makes a good story, but has no basis grounded in facts that might be verified except by dumb luck.
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    During the war it is hard to say, I believe (have read?) that P W shared their bearing "technology" pretty freely (no royalties) with other manufacturers so perhaps a few other things happened too. Or perhaps sharing of manufacturing techniques. Casting or forging methods for increased production or lower scrap rate? It is hard to say now and perhaps all companies weren't as generous as others?
     
  8. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #8 GregP, May 26, 2015
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
    I know Allison shared their bearing technology with Rolls Royce by US Government directive. They did not do so willingly. That's why all those Merlins lasted as long as they did. It was a wartime expediency that worked out. I'm not complaining about it at all, just saying it was shared by directive. It well may be that P&W shared under the same force of directive. I haven't read about the P&W bearing data sharing, so I don't know.

    In any case it made for about 4 years or a bit more of longer lasting piston engines for the war, and then we all moved on to jets with entirely new bearing issues.
     
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  9. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Rolls-Royce had a licence to produce bearings with Allison's technology. In other words, Rolls-Royce paid Allison for every bearing that they made. In all likelihood, this arrangement gave Allison more profit (didn't have to manufacture them and ship them half way around the world) and cost Rolls-Royce less (the shipping).

    Rolls-Royce were using the Allison style bearings for years before the war. The PV12/Merlin probably never ran on the old style homogeneous material bearings.
     
  10. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    Pratt Whitney would be the American company with the engineering resources most suited to Allison supercharger development earlier on, not that any sharing/collaboration was necessarily likely, but still the obvious point to note development wise.

    If the Army wasn't going to change its views on supercharging, the only other major interest would be the Navy. And, while the USN may not have had the greatest interest in liquid cooled engines, I do believe it was glycol that was the real killer for considering the V-1710. I don't see why the V-1710 couldn't be made to run one water alone, perhaps with some restrictions to maximum power and engine temperature, but still possible. (it was also only 100% glycol that really concerned the navy, but non-flammable 70/30 water/gylcol blends didn't become standard until wartime and storage of pre-blended coolant would mean that much more shipboard storage space required as well -while distilled water would be a more universally usable resource that could be manufactured on demand at sea)
     
  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #11 GregP, May 26, 2015
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
    Hi Wayne,

    We've had this conversation before. Rolls Royce got the license by force, not because Allison agreed to it. There was NOBODY in Allison who wanted to share bearing technology without considerably more payment, but the sharing was directed.
     
  12. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Greg, Vees for Victory has an appendix about Allison's steel backed bearings. It doesn't specify when Rolls-Royce bought manufacturing rights, after which they paid a royalty for each bearing produced, but it is mentioned in the paragraph about Allison starting bearing manufacture in 1927 and foreign sales in the late 1920s. I would infer that the licence was granted in this time period.

    The royalty Rolls-Royce paid Allison was likely as much as the profits Allison could make if they produced the bearings themselves. They get the profit without having to expand their manufacturing base faster than it was already doing to meet domestic demand.

    So in the late 1920s, early 1930s who was going to force Allison to do something against their will? Rolls-Royce certainly couldn't, they had no direct influence. The British government wielded no power over Allison.

    So the US government did? Why would they? There was no war on, and the US was isolationist in any case.

    FWIW, many of the world's radial manufacturers, including France, Italy, USSR, Japan and Germany, gained experience in radial design by producing Wright or Bristol engines under licence. Bristol preferred to do it that way rather than making all those engines for export.
     
  13. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    License was not granted. They had exactly what was said, foreign sales. Allison was making money from bearing sales and had NO incentive to license anything. Because the governement was such a big customer, they were able to force the license issue. Allison was bitter about it, but tehre was little they could do to prevent it. Once the war was imminent, things like bearing technology could be taken over by the government as critical to national defense and Allison would have no choice but to turn it over anyway, without the benefit of any payment. Wartime makes stealing things in industry legal.

    That's the bane of a small compnay dealing with the government ... you sometimes surrender control. However, in the late 1920's to early 1930's, if you wanted to sell bigger aero engines in the U.S.A., you were almost stuck with the government as a customer, together with their policies.

    When the great depression hit in the fall of 1929, the government was likey the ONLY customer for aero engines and bearings aside from foreign governments and foreign aircraft makers. Foreign governments were sometimes better customers because they could not force you to do things you didn't want to do, aside from canceling the order. They had no control over your business.

    Wayne, Joe has had people who worked at Allison come though the shop on a regular basis. They were there in the offices and on the production floor. Nobody who has come through had anything good to say about dealing with the government as a customer, and more than one has waxed eloquently about what they were made to do against their policies and will.

    To say there is some bitterness there would be like saying summer in the desert is warm. The reality is considerably ahead of the statement. It wasn't from any lack of desire to please the customer, but from what was shoved down their throats by people with no regard for customer relations.

    Go talk with ANY Northrop employee from the WWII era and you'll get the same story in another direction. Jack refused to sell his company to Consolidated. The B-49 and almost all other orders were cancelled by Fife Symington in retalliation. And the government messed with Northrop right through the F-20 program and even beyond. The behind-the-scenes posturing was brutal.

    Nothing that doesn't happen elsewhere, but things weren't quite as smooth as Dan Whitney would have you believe in Vees for Victory.
     
  14. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I asked the question to Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust and this is their initial reply:

    In the mid to late 1920s Allison was modernizing Liberty V12s with their bearings. That was a government contract.

    They were also selling to Wright and Pratt Whitney, each of which had as much, if not more, private business than government business.

    Still, the market for bearings for aero engines in the late 1920s was small.

    I fail to see how anyone could have forced Allison to sell a manufacturing licence to Rolls-Royce.
     
  15. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Can you imagine the consternation the Brit engineers had when they had to share their jet engine technology with their US competitors. How about having an engine built to install into the Vampire and having it sent to America for the XP-80. Of course the Brit Government sold the Nene to the Soviet Union after the war! After all, they were allies, right? Actually, I think it would be interesting to see a list of technologies that were shared, forcibly and otherwise, during the war especially between the US and GB.
     
  16. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    We have WAY different views of what was going on, Wayne. Mine come from former employees during the time in question. And it's probably fair to say you will NEVER get anything factual about what was happening from Roll Royce. They'll stick 100% with whatever the compnay line says.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Gee, I wonder how the guys at Allison felt about being given the production contracts for the J-33 and J-35 jet engines instead of General Electric. Sure sounds like the government was out to screw Allison.
     
  18. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    So, you are saying the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust were lying when they said that a Condor III was tested with Allison steel backed bearings in 1925 and that they obtained a licence some time in the late 1920s?

    You've met people who worked for Allison in the 1920s?
     
  19. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    No.

    Met people who worked there in WWII and just after. When Rolls Royce got Allison bearings in the mid-1920's, it was a sale, not a license. The license came later, at the insistence of the US government.

    Rolls Royce will give you the compnay line, like any company that absorbed another one, they will say eerything was above board unless and until YOU go find out otherwise and prove it wrong. Then they'll claim foul for some unfathomable reason and stall you until you can't afford to go any further. fter all, they have more money than someone who is just prying.

    You were though Joe's shop. People visit just to see Allisons. It shouldn't be too big a push to believe former employees come to see a run. They do, really.
     
  20. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #20 GregP, May 28, 2015
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
    No.

    Met people who worked there in WWII and just after. When Rolls Royce got Allison bearings in the mid-1920's, it was a sale, not a license. The license came later, at the insistence of the US government.

    Rolls Royce will give you the company line, like any company that absorbs another one, they will say everything was above board unless and until YOU go find out otherwise and prove it wrong. Then they'll claim foul for some unfathomable reason and stall you until you can't afford to go any further. After all, they have more money than someone who is just prying.

    You were though Joe's shop. People visit just to see Allisons. It shouldn't be too big a push to believe former employees come to see a run. They do, really. And they don't corroborate what Rolls said to you.

    If you don't see how anyone can force a license, you haven't been in business very long. It's done all the time ... not forcing a license per se, but forcing actions through ability to control revenue. I KNOW you've been in business, so I know you know what I am saying is true ... you can't always do what you want unless you have enough money and orders to be truly independent. Most smaller businesses don't have that money ... or they'd be bigger.

    Many small machine shops can't even charge a fair price for machine work because the buyers tell them the price and if they don't get it, the order isn't placed. If that company is 40% of your business and you have #500,000 outstanding for machines to make the parts, you give them their price or go out of business.
     
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