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RAF Preference for in line engines vs radials in WW2

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RAF Preference for in line engines vs radials in WW2

Old 25th Nov 2022, 23:11
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Originally Posted by Jason Burry View Post
B36's featured production, 4-row P&W R4360.

It was also used in Boeing 377, B50, C97, and the Flying Boxcar.

It was terribly maintenance intensive in all of them. But, yes, production 4-row radials existed, even, briefly, in civilian service.
As a Licensed Engineer/Mechanic I'd expect to allocate around 1 manhour to remove, clean, inspect, test and refit the 8 plugs on a small Cessna. By extrapolation, I'd make that about 42 manhours just to service the plugs of a B-36. That's a man-week. Compression checks and troubleshooting mag-drops must have been a hoot.
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Old 25th Nov 2022, 23:31
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Originally Posted by dduxbury310 View Post
Think you will find that your "B-29" was actually a B-50. No B-29 was ever fitted with the R-4360 engines, and I suspect the aircraft you viewed had the extremely tall fin/rudder assembly which was vital to all B-50s. Perhaps the person at the museum was not too well informed on American military aircraft of the 1950s, and just got it wrong with their caption. A B-50 is still rather B-29 (ish) after all!
It was a B-29D - which later was re-designated B-50 via a little USAF sleight of hand:
Because Congress was reluctant to continue funding wartime projects, the B-29D was redesignated B-50 to make it appear completely new. Congress fell for the trick, and the B-29D was kept alive, even though no planes flew under the original designation.
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Old 26th Nov 2022, 06:52
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Originally Posted by DuncanDoenitz View Post
As a Licensed Engineer/Mechanic I'd expect to allocate around 1 manhour to remove, clean, inspect, test and refit the 8 plugs on a small Cessna. By extrapolation, I'd make that about 42 manhours just to service the plugs of a B-36. That's a man-week. Compression checks and troubleshooting mag-drops must have been a hoot.
The SOP at least in the airline world, was to QEC the R4360 engines for a plug change rather than do it on wing.
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Old 26th Nov 2022, 18:44
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D-D/BPF,didn`t the F/Engineers panel have a selector and instrument to check each engine`s plugs for misfiring or failure...?
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Old 26th Nov 2022, 19:34
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Originally Posted by sycamore View Post
D-D/BPF,didn`t the F/Engineers panel have a selector and instrument to check each engine`s plugs for misfiring or failure...?
One of the DC6s (4 x 18 cylinder P&W R2800 engines) I've worked on had an ignition analyser for the Dark Arts Practitioner (flight engineer) to occupy himself with. The CRT display was quite interesting to watch, not that I had any idea what the trace patterns meant.
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Old 26th Nov 2022, 20:51
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Thanks stevef,think the Beverley may have had similar...
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Old 27th Nov 2022, 03:32
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Ignition analysers were an option available on some aircraft, such as the Constellation (R-3350) where the following comes from.








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Old 5th Dec 2022, 23:21
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Was there a shadow factory for the production of Bristol engines?
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Old 6th Dec 2022, 05:10
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And yet the USN fighters such as the Corsair,Wildcat, Hellcat, Bearcat and Tigercat all used radials. Were radials more reliable than in-line engines for over-sea ops?.
I wonder if the USN found radials less fuss on board without the coolant requirements of inline engines??? Maybe not a determining factor but a consideration.
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Old 6th Dec 2022, 07:57
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Blimey, Jet engines must have been a doddle compared to a 4-row radial!
Flight Engineers from the 40s and 50s have my utmost respect...
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Old 6th Dec 2022, 08:48
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"Blimey, Jet engines must have been a doddle compared to a 4-row radial!"

they were - and thus FE's gradually disappeared

Read anything about trying to run an major airline in the '50's and it always comes back to the problems of the big engines.
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Old 6th Dec 2022, 11:01
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Originally Posted by ZeBedie View Post
Was there a shadow factory for the production of Bristol engines?
Yes indeed.
There was one at Patchway very close to the railway line.
And another at a town called Corsham.
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Old 6th Dec 2022, 16:41
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Originally Posted by Buster15 View Post
Yes indeed.
There was one at Patchway very close to the railway line.
And another at a town called Corsham.
There were a whole lot - there are five listed here as producing components for Bristol radials: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_shadow_factories

One of them is Jaguar-Land Rover Solihull these days. NB apparently Bristol itself refused to have them make whole engines, only sub-assemblies Bristol would finish itself.
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Old 6th Dec 2022, 16:52
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My former instructor and dear friend Sqn Ldr Desmond Mock flew Catalinas from Lough Erne in Northern Ireland. He recalled that the Merlin was highly valued and it wasn't done to admit that coolant leaks were often a problem. He and his colleagues much preferred their pair of P&W Twin Wasps when on an 18-hour Atlantic patrol. I remembered Desmond years later when I was in and out of Scottish Aviation at Prestwick, collecting and delivering parts for overhaul, and more than once saw an ex-Dakota Twin Wasp which had blown off a cylinder head and still kept going as long as all the oil didn't leak away.
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Old 6th Dec 2022, 16:56
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Some of the really big US four-row jobs were manufactured from an alloy of magnesium and thorium, which was both radioactive and would burn through the main spar in the event the overheating problem reached its logical conclusion and caused a fire.
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Old 7th Dec 2022, 01:10
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Read anything about trying to run an major airline in the '50's and it always comes back to the problems of the big engines
Part of the problem was airlines tended to flog their engines in a competitive race to meet schedule, particularly when the first jets arrived, the military who operated their C-121 (Constellation) by the book (read conservative) had a very good record in comparason.
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