Again, it's not a matter of what type of engine
I'll be hanging on the front of this beast, it's a matter
of which radial it will be..
My heart and my gut say the Pratt & Whitney R985. I usually go with one or the other, but
when both are telling you to do it.... well, there's no denying that.
I haven't committed yet, though. : )
March 7, 2007:
The strange things that we do, or should I say, that I do.
Not knowing what road you should go down...
what do you do? Just sit there and wait for something to happen
? HECK NO ! You can either go through life carving it up as
you like, being in control, or sit by and let circumstances happen... circumstances
that will spin you one way or the other, you're outta control. Where am I going
with all this, right ? hehe
I've decided at this point I want to hang the R985 on the front of my 'bolt. Right or wrong... right now I'm going with that decision.
So scratch that statement that I made above about not commiting. Come on.... what did ya think that smile was for? Yeah, something else may come along, and I could sit here and wait for that to happen, but I'm not going to.
What you see here is the "mouth" of the gorilla; the carb of an R985. A little story here. It doesn't even relate to flying but it does relate to how I sometimes
"pull" myself in one direction over another. The story... ahhh to hell with the story.
Getting back to how this "relates" to 'building my Skybolt. I saw this R985 carb on ebay and decided to bid on it. It turns out that I didn't win the bid. The bidding went over what I was willing to pay for it.
I got an email from the guy selling it. Apparently he had more than one carb. He wanted to know if I wanted to buy one of the other ones for the highest bid that I placed. BRILLIANT ! I didn't win but I "won" it at a lower cost than
what the original "sold" for. Fate ? Naaaaa... just dumb luck. I can see it now... find an auction on ebay for a R985, bid $500.00, loose the auction only to find out I get another second chance offer... the guy apparently has a
wharehouse full of engines. What are the odds, eh ?
Still haven't gotten to the relationship, right ? Well, I bought this carb to send me down the road searching for the rest of the radial that connects to it. I have it sitting on my dining room table. It reminds me
each day of the rest of that engine.
I know its out there... coming at me like a freight train in the night.
I can hear it's rumble off in the distance. It's just a matter of time.
A little about this beautiful big ol' engine:
The R985 is a nine-cylinder reciprocating engine. The initial rating was 300 hp, advanced models had up to 600 hp.
Displacement: 985 cubic inches
Revolutions per minute: 2,000-2,300
Weight: 560-682 pounds
Production years: 1929-1953
First run: 1929
Engines produced: 39,037
A little history on the R985
The roots of the R985 starts with the man himself, the founder of Pratt & Whitney, Frederick Brant Rentschler.
Frederick Brant Rentschler was a Captain in World War I. He oversaw production of aircraft engines for the US Army.
At the time, the majority of engines were liquid-cooled. He was sure that the future of aircraft would require
light-weight engines that produced much greater power and would be more reliable. He was certain that air-cooled
engines would be the standard for all aircraft engines to come.
All the experts of the time said that airplane engines should be liquid cooled, Rentschler stood his ground, in face of
popular covnvention, seeing the future of aviation and the air-cooled engine. And so... Rentschler founded Pratt & Whitney in 1925.
An interestng fact: Andy Wilgoos, P & W's Chief Engineer, designed the Wasp engine in his garage,
in Montclair, NJ, before P & W opened it's facilities in CT. I live in Jersey so I found it interesting. Another interesting fact.
The Gorilla on my mast head is named Igoo. VERY close in spelling to the man who designed the R985. Who would have thunked.
A quote by Jimmy Doolittle as told to Don Brown, President of P & W, after setting a new speed record behind a Wasp:
“I have never flown a sweeter running engine.”
June 13, 2007 the sad news
I was told by a few of the guys on the Biplane Forum that the R985 is much too heavy for the Skybolt. The weight of the engine is between
100 and 200 lbs too heavy, depending on which model you're hanging.