Category Archives: radial engine

How Jim Savage Gets the 1939 Spartan Executive So Shiny

This blog is republished with the permission of Jim Savage. His website, VintageSpartanAircraft.com which features his 1939 Spartan Executive, is a must visit.

What do you do to make your Spartan so shiny?  That’s a question I am often asked and the answer may be easier than you expect. Obviously, it takes quite a bit of polishing, using quality polishing supplies and good polishing techniques. Most experienced metal polishers with bare metal airplanes already know that.  The missing piece has to do with how light behaves when it reaches the airplane. Specifically, it is either reflected or it is absorbed.  The more light that is reflected, the shinier the airplane appears to be.  The trick is to eliminate anything that absorbs the light. In the case of Spartan NC17634, it has minimal paint trim, so there is more surface available to reflect light. Of course, that holds true for many bare metal airplanes.  The other source of light absorption is the tiny black rings around each of the rivet heads.  Although often unnoticed unless you are specifically looking for them, almost every bare metal has these light absorbing rings, including ones that have been judged as Grand Champions.  They originate during the normal polishing process and over time and many polishings, they slowly accumulate.  With the passage of time, these rings become extraordinarily difficult to eliminate.  

While a tiny black ring around a single rivet doesn’t seem like much, consider what the cumulative amount is if you have 9000+ polished rivets, as is the case with NC17634. To the best of my knowledge, there is no magic potion that easily removes the black residue.  It is simply a matter of finding a process that works best for you and then proceeding, one rivet at a time.  While the removal of all traces of black from every rivet of an entire airplane is a daunting task, the results are clearly noticeable.   

Here are some close-up pictures rivets on a 1939 Spartan Executive.  The first nine pictures show examples of what domed rivets with black rings look like on a highly polished airplane.

The next nine pictures show similar views of the same Spartan, after removal of the black rings.

For those of you who are really, really curious about how long it took to remove all traces of black from the 9000 rivets on the Spartan, it is probably far more than you can imagine and likely far more than you will believe. It took approximately 800 hours of effort but as the following picture shows, the final results can be stunning.

More Pictures of the Spartan 1939 Executive

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The 450hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior Powered Winjeel ‘404 – A Home Coming and Return to Flight

by Stephan Bowtell, Nathan Bowtell and Phil Buckley
Rising like a young eagle to fly once more, a former Royal Australian Air Force CAC Winjeel A85-404 has returned to the skies in Australia to take her place as a living warbird once again.

Continue reading The 450hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior Powered Winjeel ‘404 – A Home Coming and Return to Flight

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The R-985 Powered de Havilland Beaver: Arguably the Best Bush Plane Ever Built

With a big, nine-cylinder Pratt & Whitney strapped to the front, this 5,100-pound workhorse boasts a useful load of around 2,000 pounds, and it’s built to operate out of short and rough airstrips.

Continue reading The R-985 Powered de Havilland Beaver: Arguably the Best Bush Plane Ever Built

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The History of the Pratt & Whitney R-985 & The List of Aircraft Powered by the Radial Engine

The Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior is a series of nine-cylinder, air-cooled, radial aircraft engines built by the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company from the 1930s to the 1950s. These engines have a displacement of 985 in; initial versions produced 300 hp (220 kW), while the most widely used versions produce 450 hp (340 kW).

Continue reading The History of the Pratt & Whitney R-985 & The List of Aircraft Powered by the Radial Engine

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Canadians set to rock “Thunder Over Louisville” with R-1340 North American Harvard Trainers

On April 18, the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team (CHAT) wrapped up several weeks of spring training and is heading south for the coming “Thunder Over Louisville” airshow.

Continue reading Canadians set to rock “Thunder Over Louisville” with R-1340 North American Harvard Trainers

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What is the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp & List of R-1340 Powered Aircraft

The Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp was a 9 cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial engine with horsepower ranging from 410 hp to 600 hp, depending on the model and configuration. It was used in a range of aircraft that included the North American AT-6, Boeing P-26, and Boeing 247. Jimmy Doolittle used the Wasp to set records in his Gee Bee Racer and Amelia Earhart made history using the Wasp in her Electra L-10.

Continue reading What is the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp & List of R-1340 Powered Aircraft

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Geico Skytypers’ North American SNJ-2 Team to Appear at 2017 Mid-Atlantic Air Museum WWII Weekend

GEICO Skytypers Airshow makes first appearance at popular World War II event.

The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum is pleased to announce that the GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team — a six-ship aerobatic team flying the North American SNJ-2 — will perform at the Museums 27th Annual World War II Weekend set for June 2-3-4, 2017.

The GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team will perform an 18-minute low-level flying demonstration each day of the show.

“This is an exciting first for World War II Weekend“, said Museum President Russ Strine, “as this is our first ever six-ship formation team”.

GeicoNorthAmericanSNJ2

The GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team will also “skytype” around the local area all three days of the event.

The North American SNJ-2 is a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft. Powered by a 550hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-56 engine, the Depression-era SNJ-2 was designed to United States Navy specifications.

The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum is located at the Reading Regional Airport in Reading, Pennsylvania. For more information about this year’s event, visit the MAAM WWII Weekend.

H/T Baltimore Post Examiner.

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