Category Archives: Flying

Epic Flies Second PT6A-67A Powered E1000 Prototype

The speedy single-engine turboprop is closing in on its long-awaited market introduction.

Epic Aircraft in Bend, Oregon, has flown the second and final production conforming prototype E1000, putting the company on short final for FAA certification of the all-composite single-engine turboprop, which is now anticipated to enter the market by this year’s third quarter.

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Pratt & Whitney’s R-1340 is The Only Aircraft Engine to be Designated an Historic Landmark

The Wasp Engine’s Great Leap Forward

Advances in propulsion are what drive aviation development. Innovative airplanes almost always start with innovative engines, and the airframes follow. In 2016, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers celebrated just such an engine. The society designated the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp a technology landmark, the organization’s highest award, because the Wasp singlehandedly brought about a leap forward in aircraft performance and economics. The tale of its development is still fascinating.

R1340WaspNumber1
Wasp no. 1 never flew, but the Navy bought 200 after ground tests. (NASM (2014-04858))

The story can be told as a series of meetings among ambitious young designers, dealmakers with burning needs, and inflexible government contractors. The Wasp’s manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, was at the time a humble machine tool company with no connection whatsoever to aviation. Thanks to a risky bet on an unproven technology, today it’s one of the world’s dominant builders of airplane engines.

At the center of the Wasp’s creation was Frederick Rentschler, scion of a well-connected Ohio industrial family. The family probably assumed that the dutiful son, who’d grown up working in their foundry, would one day inherit and run the family automobile engine manufacturing firm. And he might have done just that if it had not been for World War I. The Princeton graduate enlisted, and in 1917, as a first lieutenant in the aviation section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, he was tasked with inspecting Hispano-Suiza engines built under license from France by the Wright-Martin Company in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Long Island City, New York.

Young Rentschler found the work fascinating. These engines were not that different from those he was familiar with in automobiles: reciprocating pistons and cylinders arranged in rows, with liquid coolant circulating through the engine block and a radiator to dump excess heat. As the war wound down, Wright-Martin’s output tapered off, and Rentschler rejoined civilian life. For a time he ran Wright Aeronautical Corporation as president, until the board of directors, mostly bankers, decided not to reinvest profits for future engine development as he wished. In his mind, without investment in product development, the company was doomed. He resigned and spent months, including some time in a hospital due to illness, pondering the aircraft propulsion industry and how to jolt it from complacency.

Vought O2U-1s and Boeing F2B-1s—all Wasp-powered—aboard the USS Saratoga. (NASM (Si-95-2267a))
 The industry was at that time deeply invested in liquid-cooled engines, primarily large V-12s producing in excess of 400 horsepower. It was the conservative, low-risk solution for an aircraft engine, despite its well-known drawbacks: The required cooling system added weight and complexity, and radiators and coolant lines were vulnerable to battle damage, leakage, and subsequent engine failure.

Read more at http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/why-the-wasp-is-wonderful-180967115/#efYeFtu5fj6dueul.99

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Piper’s Impressive PT6A Powered Cheyenne III

When Piper Aircraft announced its plans to build a big-cabin turboprop in late 1977, time was of the essence – only, we didn’t know it. It took another three years to get the airplane certificated, during which time the robust state of the general aviation manufacturing economy had begun to unravel. The Cheyenne III’s main competition, the Beech Super King Air 200, introduced in 1974, had an established head start, and industry sales volume was no longer the rising road to riches during the 1980s that it had been in the 1970s.

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PT6A-67P Powered Pilatus PC-12 NG: The Survivor that Keeps Adapting

When the Pilatus PC-12 first landed on the scene back in 1989, expectations were fairly modest. Earmarked for sales in the 200 region, nobody would have been surprised if the PC-12 had come in, served its purpose, and been resigned to history along with a plethora of similar aircraft.

But this was not to be the case.

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The Douglas DC-3: 81 Years and Going Strong

The Douglas DC-3 Doesn’t Know the Meaning of the Word “Quit”

The same year the German airship Hindenburg crossed the Atlantic, the still-flying-today Douglas DC-3 was introduced to the world. The DC-3 is widely viewed as one of the most significant transport aircraft in history, due to its massive and long-lasting impact on the airline industry, and aerospace engineering. I got the chance to interview Ric Hallquist, the retired Chief DC-3 Pilot for Missionary Flights International who flew and worked on the beefy twin engine transport plane for over 30 years.

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Hands on History With The R-1340 Powered Geico Skytypers

By Mark Kolanowski of NYCAviation.

The evening before media day at the Rhode Island Airshow was progressing like any other: Dinner was being cooked, camera batteries were charging, lenses were out awaiting cleaning and a blower was at the ready to clear pesky dust spots off sensors in anticipation for the photo opportunities in the morning. An unexpected phone call greatly raised the anticipation level for the show, as the public affairs representative for the Geico Skytypers asked if I would be interested in joining the team for a media/photo flight the following morning. An unexpected cancellation meant that the opportunity of a lifetime had just came up with my name on it, and provided I could watch a safety video that evening and promise to not wear high heels or flip flops, I’d be taking to the skies the following morning in a historic warbird.

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The History of the P&W R-1340 Powered T-6 Texan

The North American Aviation T-6 Texan two-place advanced trainer was the classroom for most of the Allied pilots who flew in World War II. Called the SNJ by the Navy and the Harvard by the British Royal Air Force, the advanced trainer AT-6 was designed as a transition trainer between basic trainers and first-line tactical aircraft. It was redesignated T-6 in 1948.

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