WW1 British Rotary Engine used in the Sopwith Camel

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by Smudger Jnr, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Whilst looking around the Luftwaffe Museum at Gatow today I came upon this nicely preserved and sectioned British Rotary Engine, the type that was fitted to the famous Sopwith camel.

    Manufactured by Humber Ltd.

    Here are a few photographs including the Manufactures and ID Brass plates.

    Regards
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Just a minor correction the the Camel used a Rotary engine not a radial. The radial has fixed cylinders with a rotating crankshaft - the Rotary the crankshaft is static and the engine rotates around it. Balance was crucial it also produced a pronounced torque effect. No throttle, the engine controlled by a 'blip switch' cutting the magneto - to reduce revs. The rotary also uses a 'lost lubricant' system, gallons of castor oil spraying out, over the fuselage and pilot, hence the scarf to wipe the oil from goggles! As an apprentice I relapped a set of valves for one, never did get to see it running. Rotating the prop prior to starting is done to make sure a pool of fuel and oil has not settled in the lower chambers, a liquid cannot be compressed, starting like this could blow a cylinder off!


    1918 Gnome rotary engine running - YouTube


    How a Rotary Engine Works - YouTube





    Sopwith Camel and Spitfire flying in formation - YouTube
     
  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Wills,
    Thanks for the correction. As you can tell I am no engine expert!

    I just liked the way it was exhibited.

    Now edited, with thanks.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    As an apprentice I relapped a set of valves for one, never did get to see it running.

    Perhaps that was for the better :D
     
  5. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    It was called WORK!
     
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    J Rotating the prop prior to starting is done to make sure a pool of fuel and oil has not settled in the lower chambers, a liquid cannot be compressed, starting like this could blow a cylinder off!


    Well explained, Willis.

    Some others in the group might not be aware that the later radials had (have :)) to be 'pulled through' as well.

    Films showing it are common. I like the ones of six or seven men marching under B-29 props like a parade to spin them. They were supposed to do the initial rotation very slowly and feel for the resistance of built up liquid and if they felt any they were to stop immediately and drain the oil out of the lower spark plug holes. Even pulling a cylinder through without starting the engine on a partially filled cylinder could bend the connecting rod, which would then lead to failure in flight.

    Dave
     

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