R2800 Engines for the B-17s/B-24s ?

Discussion in 'Engines' started by Tham, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Tham

    Tham New Member

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    I've always wondered why the Pratt Whitney R2800 was
    not used in B-24s and B-17s during the war, rather than the
    badly underpowered Wright R1820 ?

    The turbocharged, water-methanol injected 2,800 hp R2800-57
    engine would easily have taken both bombers to 300 mph and
    a operational height of 30,000 feet (equivalent to B-29 performance),
    rather than 180 mph and 20,000 feet with the R1820.

    This would obviously have made interception by German fighters
    much more difficult (equivalent to Japanese difficulty in intercepting
    B-29s), cut losses drastically and saved immeasurable lives.

    What is ironical is even the little Lockheed Hudson were given
    R2800s to replace their R1830s and become the mediocre PV-1
    Ventura, which was hardly used anyway.
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    1. The B-17 was not underpowered
    2. The R-2800 wasn't around when the B-17 was being designed
    3. Although more powerful, you don't always gain extra performance by adding more powerful engines. Fuel consumption, weight and possibly range might be affected. In addition the extra power would result in airframe modifications. there is a possibility of the airframe still having problems as that engine wasn't originally designed to fit the B-17 airframe.
    4. For the little performance that might of been gained, it was not worth stopping the B-17 production lines and diverting engineers away from other more critical projects.
    5. The B-29
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I dont think the early R2800's were known for fuel economy.

    Any gain made by using the early model R2800's was going to be offset by reduced payload and range.
     
  4. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    The Ventura provided good service for the RAAF. They participated in the Eindhoven raid against the Philips factory in December 1942. The RAAF received 75 Venturas, supplied under Lend-Lease, the last two being sold off not until the 17th February 1953. I saw one at an air show (belonging to RAAF Point Cook)
    years ago and remember the broadcaster mentioning that 'low down' the Ventura was faster than the A6M.
     
  5. Tham

    Tham New Member

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    Thank you for the information, FlyboyJ.

    Yes, I realize only the R1820/1830 was available when the
    B-17 and B-24 were designed. However, I think conversion
    to the R2800, or at least the R2600, would not have been too
    difficult, given the large size of both bomber's wings and the
    relative soundness of their fuselages. The Hudson's airframe
    didn't appear to need a radical redesign to become the Ventura,
    apart from a longer fuselage, althought it ended up with a
    higher wing loading.

    Then again, production constraints during the war would have
    been a major factor against it.

    The R2800 was one fuel guzzler and apparently used up
    some 100 gallons per hour in P-47s. Operating radius in
    the bombers would have decreased, but I think with the
    huge fuel tanks in their wings, plus improved power/weight
    ratio, there would still be sufficient reserves to reach deep
    into Germany.

    The Ventura was some 70 mph faster than the Hudson,
    and climbed almost twice as fast. The R2800-31 version
    used in the Ventura did not appear to be turbocharged.
    I think turbocharging it would have taken the B-17 and
    B-24 to an operating ceiling of at least 30,000 feet.


    Yes, I had underrated the Ventura and it indeed looks like
    one quite hot aircraft.

    Koster 1/48 PV-1 Ventura by Terry Miesle
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Sometimes engine conversions don't work when they seem real easy. I work with DHC-6 Twin Otters. We went to an increased horsepower PT6 engine and now we're tearing up engine mounts. We're still investigating why but these are some of the things you encounter with a seemingly easy engine upgrade...
     
  7. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    Why not 4 Rolls Royce Crecy.
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    They did 4 allisons and even 5 engines on a B-17.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    or how about a single engine B-17?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    :shock: That single engined B-17 looks like a giant fighter!
     
  10. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Got a story to tell with the single engined B-17? Have never seen it before.

    This must be the Japanese copy!?
    The Gasuden Koken

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Maharg

    Maharg Member

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    Amazing I had never seen a single engine B-17 before. like Graeme said is there any more info on this prototype?
     
  12. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    This is all I could find Maharg. From this site, utilising the registration number on the wing.

    You just landed at AeroFiles!

    This image is also titled JB-17G, number 44-85813, with a Wright XT35 Typhoon turboprop-originally known as EB-17G.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    My (limited) understanding of the WWII round-engine situation indicates that all P&W R-2800 production was reserved for the huge numbers of Hellcats, P-47's, and Corsairs ; there was no "excess" production of Double Wasps available for B-17/B-24 production. That would have meant at least doubling, if not tripling, R-2800 production (each fighter only needed one engine, the bombers needed four each). I'm not saying the US couldn't have done it if they didn't want to, but it wouldn't have been very cost-effective to have Wright stop producing an engine they're already tooled-up to produce, and start producing a totally different design.
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Hellcats got the -2800, not Wildcats.

    B29's and B32's got the Wright R3350, and never were considered for -2800's.

    If the AAF decided to mount 2800's on the B17 and B24, then existing factories could be converted to expand production.
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The factory wasn't the problem, the redesign of the current airframe was the issue as earlier pointed out. Disruption of engineering efforts for engine upgrades on B-17s and B-24s would of been a waste of time, especially when the B-29 and B-32 were coming down the pipe...
     
  16. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I know, I was just commenting that the R2800 engine program could have easily been expanded, in the unlikely event, the B17's and B24's were modified for this engine.
     
  17. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Syscom,

    >B29's and B32's got the Wright R3350, and never were considered for -2800's.

    Hm, do you know the reason for that? It seems that the R-3350 delivered 2200 HP take-off power in the B-29, which the R-2800 could have matched - and the R-3350 proved to be a rather troublesome engine in early B-29 development while the R-2800 apparently was a mature design at the same time. (At least, that's my impression.)

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The R2800 for the most part was considered a "fighter engine." Although it could of easily been used, it was decided to go with the 3350 which had the power to weight ratio suited for a multi engine aircraft. Additionally the USAAF did have a call in what engine was going to be used in their bomber. After WW2 a number of commercial aircraft used the 3350 because of this.
     
  19. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Am I right in saying the DC-4 and DC-5 used the 3350 (as a specific example)?
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Yep - Turbo Compounds....
     
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