Rotary or inline?

Discussion in 'World War I' started by Readie, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    A quick straw poll.

    If you were an aviator in WW1 would you prefer a rotary or inline engine to power your aeroplane?

    I'm on the fence ( unusually :lol:) with this one...

    Cheers
    John
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Inline. When I was in A&P school we had a rotary (Gnome le Rhone). An engineering marvel but when you saw it operate and saw the amount of oil it would throw it would make you shiver!
     
  3. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    #3 Aaron Brooks Wolters, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
    Isn't a rotary different from a radial or am I mistaken? Aha, went looked. With a rotary engine, the engine case rotates around the crankshaft. With a radial engine the crankshaft is what rotates. So, I've answered my question.
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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  5. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    I'll take your Mercedes D III and raise you a Rolls Royce Falcon. :lol:
     
  6. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    #6 tyrodtom, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
    They also had V-8's, the Hispano-Suiza in various models, also other manufactors made V8's also, Wolseley, Sunbeam and others.
    The Spads and SE-5 were both mostly powered by HS engines.
    I'd prefer a SE-5a with the 200hp Wolseley V8.

    The rotaries used castor oil as a lubricant, mixed with the gas, like a 2 cycle. With all the oil it sent out with the exhaust, it had to be a extra fire hazard, plus we all know what swallowing castor oil will do to a person. But rotaries made very good power for their weight.
     
  7. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    It's interesting to note that other than the Rolls engines, the British failed to produce an original in-line design that was really good. The Wolseley was essentially a Hisso built under licence but with better tolerances in manufacture, which made it more reliable. Among some of the duds were the Sunbeam Arab, again designed to substitute the Hisso V8, the Siddeley Deasy Puma, not producing anywhere near its rated horsepower, anything by Sunbeam, really - Mohawk - extensively used, but unreliable - Maori - unreliable and narrow usage. The Beardmore Galloway Atlantic - promising but overly technical and plenty of room for improvement, which led to the Siddeley Deasy Puma, hardly an improvement at all.
     
  8. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  9. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Seeing the Red Baron appear out of the clouds would have a similar effect :lol:

    John
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's one engine I don't want. Reliability was horrible. Fighting the Red Baron is bad enough. Fighting the Red Baron with a defective engine would make me wonder why I volunteered for flight training to get out of the infantry.
     
  11. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    The Camel turned rather slowly to the left, which resulted in a nose up attitude due to the torque of the rotary engine. But the engine torque also resulted in the ability to turn to the right in half the time of other fighters, although that resulted in more of a tendency towards a nose down attitude from the turn. Because of the faster turning capability to the right, to change heading 90° to the left, many pilots preferred to do it by turning 270° to the right.

    Ummm...the line in is looking good to me. But, which one?
    John
     
  12. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Sort of amazing that they would build over 48,000 engines and power over half of the Allied figters with them if they were "unreliable"
    Granted the geared version, the HS-8Bb, did have problems with the reduction gear, but the ungeared verisions of the Hispano served well enough.

    Volunteering to fly was just a good way to get out of the cold and mud, everybody at the time realized that flying was just as likely, or maybe more likely, to kill them as the trenches, flying was just a more plesant way to die.
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Chauchat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    It's also sort of amazing France would built 262,000 of the awful Chauchat light machineguns. Five times as many as the Lewis LMG. But they did.
     
  14. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Nah, they were pretty crap! Maybe that's an oversimplification. They were unreliable, but the fact behind their mass use was that they had a good power to weight ratio. I've read plenty of tales of cylinders coming off in flight, glow plug lines snapping, props being shed, fuel lines being blocked. poor maintenance in the conditions at those front line airfields suffered wouldn't have helped.

    An interesting thing I once heard from a (current) Camel driver; he told me that part of the reason behind the high accident rate in training whilst flying the type was because of mismanagement of the fuel system.

    Camel fuel pump.jpg

    Fuel pressure on the Camel was created by the little propeller driving a fuel pump; without this, the engine would stop. Failures of the mechanism were not unheard of either. He also said that he found the Camel not any more difficult to fly than other WW1 types he had flown (I can't really argue with him!). A lot of it was pure inexperience and a lack of a proper training syllabus. A bit like throwing a rookie driver who learned on a Suzuki Swift straight into an F1 car!
     
  15. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  16. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Nice link there John, but the history one doesn't mention that it was Australian Lawrance Hargrave who designed the rotary, he built a model driven by compressed air. The French built the first one capable of powering a full size aeroplane, but Hargrave came up with the idea first.

    "Always treat your kite like you treat your woman... Get inside her five times a day and take her to heaven and back!"

    Faaantastic! :lol:

    "This isn't the Women's Auxiliary Balloon Corps, your'e in the twenty Minuters' now!"

    That about sums it up, really.
     
  17. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Great humour. Black Adder is my favourite as it laughs at us in away that wouldn't be PC these days...

    I christened the RIB coastal patrol team I was coxswain in the '20 minuters' as it was about 20 minutes before we got airborne at 35 knots in the South West approaches swells and someone landed hard on their arse :lol:

    John
     
  18. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Don't know if it was a more pleasant way to go if you're on fire. They didn't wear parachutes, so if you caught fire, you would burn all the way down.

    On the engine question, I always thought it would be more of a mechanical nightmare with rotary engines versus radial. If only the crankshaft is spinning, it makes the rest of the attachments like fuel lines and plug wiring a heck of a lot easier. I'd take an inline over a rotary any day.
     
  19. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    #19 tyrodtom, Nov 18, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
    In the trenches they had rats, lice, cold, mud, the constant stink of death, and that was just their daily existance without the extras thrown in by combat, gas, artillery, small arms fire of all sorts, trench raids, and you could be burned to death in the trenches too, they had flame throwers in WW1 also.

    If you were flying most of your time was spent in a lot more plesant surroundings, until the grim reaper made his call.

    One of the memories of my boyhood was one of our local WW1 veterans, Chant Kelly. His description of living in the trenches was vivid.
    He said take you average outdoor privy ( do you city boys even know what i'm talking about ?) get down in the hole, live, eat, and sleep in it for a couple of weeks, that's what the trenches were like sometimes. A level of filth and misery most modern people can't even imagine.
     
  20. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    We forget drowning in the first submarines or getting blown to bits in the exploding Dreadnoughts at Jutland.

    RFC for me chaps.

    John
     
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