Saw this engine at Hershey this past year, thought everyone would like to see
Nice view of the inside of the water jacket.
air-cooled!!! that thing must be light as well....what a lot of work to remove all that cast iron...if that is the original prop on top it might not have flown too well.
Or it flew fine but landed poorly ;)) I'd heard of this being done but never saw an example.
More likely for an air boat.
I bet that puppy was LOUD!
As one who has been around both T's and airplanes, there ain't no way I would fly behind a model T engine. I know Pietenpol built the scout with a T engine but I imagine it was still underpowered. I would rather have a 50 HP 2-stroke Rotax pulling me along than a T (and I'm no fan of 2-strokes either). The A powered Air Camper wouldn't make me near as nervous but I still wouldn't fly it over ground that I wouldn't want to land on.
I think someone should figure a way to build a speedster around it!!
Could it have been used in an orchard to prevent frost damage to fruit?
When I was a kid, I seem to remember something like that in the orange groves.
These may have been used to propell "Lighter then Airships" also known as "blimps".
Motors were mounted on the sides of the gondolas.
The fellow that was setting with it told me it was on an airplane. The plane crashed but was pilot error not engine. I also asked if it was a Peitenpol he told me it wasnt.
No wonder the dang thing crashed.
The California Orange, Lemon, Lime and Grapefruit orchard wind machines were flathead Ford V8's. They were good to about 28 degrees then the Smudge Pots had to be lit. Nice thing about Smudging was after you refilled the pots later the next morning you got the rest of day off school
Ron the Coilman
"Sport Airplane", now if I just had a 2cent stamp, I'ld write off for the instructions
That looks a lot like one that was in a collection in St Louis. I just spoke last week to the son of the man who used to have it sitting in the shed behind his house. He said he had sold it a couple of years ago. I wonder if it is the same engine?
I remember asking about it years ago and the owner said it was actually in an airplane at one time.
I'd try flying it, but then again, I was a paratrooper in my youth...
A lot more common than you think, when this all started a T engine was about all the home builders had to choose from. They work, and work well, the A engine was used when they became available, but by then the whole concept had begun to kind of go away. I have flown any number of Pietenpols with a T engine. The props were wooden and hand carved, again it was up to the individual builder to make his own, Lord knows why we weren't all killed. They were noisy, but all aircraft engines were/are, straight exhausts were/are the norm. If you have ever seen the old movies where the pilot is covered in oil, this was the case in the Pietenpol and others. My last flight in one was with a pilot with zero hours in one, he was well qualified otherwise, the engine, a T, died on final and he dead sticked it in. We wound up inverted on the dirt strip, unhurt. The old airplane is still being rebuilt, and the prop looks like the one in the posting. We thought it was fun after the dust had settled, and we were both old men, some things never go away. There is still a very active Pietepol Association, lots of folks still building them, with a few purists still using a T or A engine, but Corvairs and Continental A-65 are more popular, the last one I owned had a Continental, but was originally set up for a T. They get off the ground and cruise at an acceptable rate, remember this was way back when boys and young men were a lot more adventurous, and the whole idea was to get up in the air as cheaply as you could with what was available at the time. The wings were off for storage.
I always enjoy the majority stating "no way it could ever be done", and out pops somebody who has actually done it. Hurrah!
Were many Pietenpol T engines converted to aircooling?
I sense a potential heat problem without fins like the engine in the top post.. (not to talk about sealing problems with the intake & the home made oil pan)
Correct me if I'm wrong but don't non-aero engines have to be converted to dual ignition in order to FAA certify?
hmm, I really don't think that particular engine ever was certified...
This engine was do doubt pre-FAA, which was CAA before about 1956. Nevertheless, I believe the A-40 Continental certified in some planes is single ignition.
Chris Egsgaard, aka Billy Poobah, had a Pietenpol Scout with hot T engine, and I heard it went to San Diego after he died a few years ago.
Dunno about this one, but inline and V engines are more suitable when mounted inverted in aircraft, to give more ground clearance for the prop, and be low enough for the pilot to see over. Notable ones include the P-38, P-40 and P-51.
Saw this in the conference room of a small airline in Madrid, Spain, a few years back:
Dunno what the plane is.
I hope nobody got the impression that I was saying it couldn't be done. I was clearly saying "I" wouldn't fly behind one. Just because something can be done doesn't mean it's a good idea. Let me explain why. A T engine only has 180 degrees of thrust surface to begin with. When converting its rotational HP to thrust you are loading a bearing that was never designed to accept the type of load you're asking it to carry. If your worried about the T crank supporting the transmission with a slightly bent pan I can promise a prop in the 72-76 inch diameter range should raise new concerns for you. When it's climbing, the blade decending is producing more considerably more thrust than the one accending. In other words there is an imbalance in the force from one side to the other that I promise exceeds anything a bent pan is applying to it. If the prop is out of track or balance it is even worse. Now compare the crankshaft flange of a T crank to that of any certificated airplane engine. It should be evident that one isn't really designed to handle it.
As an A & P mechanic with 31 years experience (retired military currently employed in the Engineering department of one of the worlds largest air carriers) I feel well qualified to make that determination. There is a reason aircraft engines cost good money (besides liability), they can make max rated power much longer (more hours) than your car can.
Just because something can be done doesn't mean there aren't going to be consequences from it. I guess my point is the payment of those consequences are many times more than you may wish to cough up. When I was learning to fly back in the 70's my instructor told me "don't do anything to create an emergency, it bad enough to have to deal with one that comes on you and its another to have to deal with the one you made yourself". Risk avoidance, I don't swim with gators for the same reason.
That's cool as heck! I would fly it!
I agree with Gary about the stresses the prop will exert on that little "bent wire" Model T crankshaft. He didn't even mention the considerable gyroscopic effect that the prop generates and every change in attitude has to bend this gyro out of it's orbit, a movement that it will resist pretty strongly. Ricks, the v-type Allisons in the P-38 and P-40 and the Packard/Rolls Royce in the P-51 are not inverted engines. They are, however, geared engines and the prop shafts are some distance above the crankshafts. Ranger engines are inverted and air-cooled. There were four and six cylinder models and, if memory serves, even a V-8. Respectfully submitted. Bob
Mr. Tillstrom has certainly done his math, and I will be the first to say he is right about using a T engine in an airplane, and cannot fault most of what he says, just remember that you have to dance with the one that brung you, and T engines were what was available at the time. Mr. Pietenpol went to the A engine early on, twice the horspower and about the same footprint, but with the same problems the T engine had, babbitt and all. The builders and pilots of the time didn't take all of this into consideration, they just hung whatever was available on the front of a stick and cloth contraption, and if God was willing and all went well, you were flying, which was the whole idea. A lot of folks paid the consequences, but they died doing what they wanted to do. Mr. Halpin, most of what we are talking about here was pre-CAA/FAA etc., all of the excesses that have been piled upon us, and the world was allowed to make mistakes and stub their toes and etc., and we are the better for it. The world, she are a changing, and so it goes.
gary..you are right certainly...but i have built many T engines as well as OX5 curtiss'..both of the same era and purpose, an inexpensive solution to a problem...with the exception of power/weight ratio of the curtiss i was no more impressed with it's construction and engineering than the ford....the OX5 crank is no more than a longer bent coathanger..the "oiling" system is sketchy..etc.
now, compared to a hisso of the era both the T and OX5 look like junk but the hisso was an expensive engine designed for aero use with a big budget..interestingly enough ettore bugatti slapped a pair of car engines together to make a U-16 that was easily up to the task.[we won't belabor the king/duesengerg thing here] but i've personally put many miles on a 8 cyl SOHC bug with no problems...
so i guess my question is was a well converted T engine any worse than a used OX5 in the era? those might have been your choice at the low end.
Ah, you're no doubt right, Robert. I forgot the gearing, and we were talking about that just yesterday, and how some of the props turn backwards like English airplanes.
The important thing back in the pioneering days was not to fly beyond gliding distance of a landing spot. Every landing in a single should be practice for a forced landing.
Dave, I agree that when that was all that was available the Ford engine would get you in the air cheaply and probably just as reliably as an OX-5. There are just too many choices today.
The biggest boon to the Pietenpol designs were the surplus A-65's that appeared after the war. If I were building a Piet it would be Continental powered. I know everyone on here is a Ford fan (me included) but I prefer them on the ground.
I am sorry but Dang,I aint flying behind a T engine either.How did they keep the bolts tight with all them dang wires under them?
I sure hope they didnt think them wires were helping anything.
1 question I must ask,did it run a distributar or coils? Obviously no magneto so it had to run on battery or a rotory mag.I would hate to be way up in the air and the coils quit buzzing.
Another question,how did you keep from haveing valve damage with the exhaust leaving that soon from the valve?
I've flown a couple Piets, the first one was slower than slow, it had a 50 hp Franklin in it. Made my 150 (6411Kilo) look like a stunt plane but was pretty fun. It came with a short hop instruction ride and then a white scarf and an hour for fun. I've forgotten what the other one had in it but it was a lot quicker, actually a much nicer little plane than I expected it to be but too small for my size. I had a Stinson Station Wagon with an inverted Ranger 6 cylinder in it. What a great plane. Smooth, comfortable and unfortunately, out of hours on the enigne. I couldn't afford the major on it so sold the whole thing to some rich guy in (where else) California. Oscar Cook had a Pietenpol with a Model A engine in it, when they sold his collection I would have liked to buy it, the first bid was more than I thought I might go on it. My last plane was one I think Grady also had, a Piper Pacer. (5859Delta) Mine had droop tips, an 0-360, tundra tires, an extra wing tank, etc. It was a nice plane but I ran out of money to own it. It went to Alaska and is still registered there the last time I checked. I had bought a Tri-Pacer in New York, flew it back and had it about 6 weeks when a hail storm ate it. Took the insurance money and bought the Pacer. Flew much better than the Tri-Pacer, rate of descent actually realistic instead of falling like a rock when you shut the power off and with all that power and the droop tips would come off the ground a make some altitude pretty quickly. We used to go into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Benchmark Supply airstrip early in the morning and go fishing, come out before noon and try to beat the turbulence coming over the peaks between there and here. Also the east side slope winds from the Rockys. I always felt better having some power if I needed it. A friend of mine with thousands of hours got killed in a Ryan trying to take off from there about 4 on a hot, gusty afternoon, caught a downdraft just off the end of the runway as he started to turn and was down before we even saw he was in trouble. He had to make the turn, there was a mountain in front of him, another to the right, he didn't have altitude enough to do it or power enough to climb through it. The downdraft must have exceeded his rate of climb capability and that Ryan was pretty heavy and a marginal plane for mountain flying anyway.
Several years ago a friend of mine inherited a 1929 Fairchild open cockpit from a neighbor lady he had befriended. We got it annualed, it passed the airworthiness inspection, I got a check ride and flew it a couple times. That's real flying, exhaust in your face, virtually no instrumentation, just point it and go. He sold it on ebay.
Montana is one of only two or three states that still have the navigation towers and lights on the tops of the mountains so you can fly at night with no radios or other modern instrumentation. It is a pretty ingenious system. The lights rotate and when you are in the air you can see a morse code signal that they flash to give you the location. If you climb above one light, which has a beam also pointing straight up, you can see at least one other light in clear weather and the signal from it will tell you which one it is so you can resolve doubts about direction, etc. Then when you get to that one you can see another, and so on. When I was working on my license, my instructor and I flew to Kalispell over the Bob Marshall Wilderness with all instruments covered over in the plane, just flying the towers. We flashed a light to the tower for takeoff clearance, got a long and short green and away we went. We logged all the towers as waypoints, the book the Montana Aeronautic Commission puts out has calculation charts for ground speed/time between towers, it was a very fun night. So dark you couldn't see the ground or find a horizon part of the time. No radio on, no instruments, just another tower to zero in on. They were put in during the 1930's for airmail planes so they could fly at night. Rule number one: If you can't see the light there is something in the way. Climb. I'll bet Grady has flown those lights. A lot of pilots do it on purpose just to stay sharp. There is one on the mountain above my ranch. I like to watch the light flash at night.
As far as flying on a budget, there is a company about five miles from my house that makes the Montana Coyote. Based somewhat on a Taylorcraft, slightly bigger cockpit, powered by Honda Accord or similar engines with a speed reduction belt system. I've not seen one up close for a couple years but they fly over once in awhile, usually when somebody comes to pick one up and they are doing the check rides. I'd like to have one just to go putz around once in awhile. Never gonna happen.
I've gone up 8 times in small planes, and made only two landings ..... rest of 'em I jumped out of !!
That is a neat engine. As a pilot it scares me just looking at it. What is the wire wrapped around the head for?
I ain't jumpin' out of a plane that's not on fire!
Very cool! I love seeing period mods. My guess, is that the wire around the head is there to keep it from hitting you in the face if (when?) something lets loose.
What was the asking price of the engine?
For you airplane guys check out this site:
It is the airbus 380, takes a bit of time to load but you can move around the cockpit 360 degrees and see all the controls. Prety neat and might be the largest passenger aircraft.
I googled Pietenpol and was browsing through a site when I saw this picture, a Pietenpol with a T engine hanging off the front! I can't say that I'd ever fly a plane with a T engine, but apparently, it was done. The caption under the picture says this was in 1924 I'm not sure, but it looks like this one may have retained the water cooling.
So whaddayathink is all the stuff on the valve side between the valves and the manifold/carburetor? Maybe some kind of alternative ignition system???? Beats me. I've been looking at it and thinking about it all day but I'm stumped. I also can't figure out what all the heavy wire is for but they wanted it on there pretty bad to spend the time to do the nice job of putting it on that they did. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. More research needed.
Oops, just remembered that I forgot to attach the photo.
I think the heavy wire is an attempt to improve air cooling, = increasing the metal area exposed to the air flow + creating some turbulence.
First I thought it mostly had to do with the fastening of the crankcase, but not many wires goes all the way down there, so maybe the crankcase is soldered in place on the sides?
The wires holding the intake manifold in place doesn't really look strong enough..
i think the wire is a way to keep the shrapnel from doing more damage...the stuff on the side seems to be an ignition system that operates off the intake valve lift..not sure how- but it would allow timing without a rotating element..a bit like early rotary engines with a tit on the piston top that fired as the piston approached the single electrode "sparkplug"...the cutaway exhaust ports are typical of early board track motorcycles, less iron, less weight.
The stuff on the side of the valves is a bunch of plumbing to feed oil that lubricates the valve guides.
I'm with Gary. As an A&P / IA with 31+ years experience no way I would go flying with a T engine for power. Heck, I won't go up in anything with a prop unless it is job related.
Don't know how old that photo is of the Pietenpol is but am guessing that this is the one built by Chris Eggsgard about 40 years ago? Chris claimed to have the only working example of a T powered Pietenpol. The engine had been hopped up according to my Uncle Carl who was Chris' brother-in-law. Chris told him it had oversized valves (and I assume it was ported and relieved) and put out 40 hp on the test stand. I think his argument was it could match an A Model powered unit for power and was lighter.
I met Chris only once just a few years before he passed on. I don't think he was afraid to try anything and was quite the character (also sort of the black sheep of his family). One of his other great stunts was riding his bicycle from California to Minnesota to attend his 50th High School Class Reunion.
I looked it over along time and could'nt come up with hoe the ignition worked.
Michael, I never asked the price.
All I could think about is how much time was involved modifying this thing with period type tools.
I don't think it's an oil system because it is insulated wire going to it. I blew it up and looked at it this morning and it is an ignition system as far as I can tell, actuated by the keeper on the bottom of the valve or more likely, something added to the keeper. I can get a pretty clear picture but don't understand my new computer well enough to be able to save the cropped picture and post it.
You might be right Stan.
You could have a ground at each valve for a buzz coil. Maybe a copper valve spring retainer meeting a copper spring loaded contact. It would be a pain to set timing, you would need each cylinder set to the same advance.
If you look at the other side of the block it appears to have been cut away and replaced with a piece of sheet metal!
How could you use valves or cam lobes to time the spark? The valves are closed for near 180 degrees.
Looks like it could be a device for holding the valves open - - for extending the glide after the engine quit...
This is fascinating. I agree with Stan on the "timer" thing. Thinking about it further: if #4 exhaust grounded on closing, it would fire #1 at ~TDC.....or you might use #2 intake to fire #1. Valve timing - i.e. advance or retard from TDC or BDC, would allow you a little flexibility.
It never ceases to amaze me what folks could come up with back in the days of making do with what they had.
Let's see if this works.
Look at the one on the right. It appears to me to be a home designed set of breaker points made from heavy wire. The wire is looped through an isulator that holds the flattened end of the wire in place, pointing down. The wire coming from under the engine must move with the valve to close the circuit. It is also possible that there has been modification to the cam and that the wire goes down through a hole in the block to run on the cam. All you would have to do is file a flat on the cam in the right place for it to fire. I don't know how you would advance the timing after it started on this system, tho. Note that on the left one, the wire is looped the other way and the "points" appear to operate from the opposite side of the stationary part. Pretty damn ingenious. I dunno how well it worked, but I'll bet it worked.
It's also possible that this wasn't an ignition system, but a system for firing a smoke pipe for doing high performance aerobatics, sky writing and the like. =)
If you check your photo carefully I think you'll see that the engine in your photo is from a Model A. Notice the oil filler neck in the crankcase, the water pump mounted on the head and the water outlet going straight up from the head, not coming out horizontally and elbowing up as a Model T's does.
The Pietenpol I've seen had an extra water pipe off the other end of the head to prevent a pocket of air being trapped in the higher end.
Model A plugs seal with a gasket. Those appear to be pipe thread like a T. Manifold is definitely T.
Wow, Jerry, you've got a lot better eye than I do! The caption under the photo said it was a T engine, so I just took it's word for it. I'm going to have to blow that up and take a closer look. I still can't imagine using a T engine. I love my T, and once I get the engine put back together, it should run pretty well, but I don't think I'd trust my life with it!
With the prop on the rear of the engine, turning counterclockwise, would the standard Model T rotation be correct? Perhaps they're turning it in the opposite direction, thereby needing to re-time the firing order with all that mechanism.
I can't check the T's rotation right now, just asking, OK?
Oops, sorry. I was looking at the original photo.
Rotation would be correct. The prop on a standard airplane turns counter clockwise in relation to the front of the plane. You pull down on the left half of the prop to start it. The more I look at the closeups of the mechanism the more I think there are two distinct mechanisms. One is for ignition and the lower one, the little tin strips, is to release at least a couple of the valves from compression. Note that it has two wires going to a bell crank at the top of the engine. If you blow it up and look at it you can see that this "bar" would pull up and press against the keepers at the bottom of the valves opening them. Probably for better glide or for "air starts." While you can hardly "air start" an aircraft engine today, in the day of low compression engines and no electrical system for a starter you theoretically could dive, the prop would spin the engine and you could start it in the air. If you could release the compression it should spin over and then start when you gave it compression again. Hmmmmmmmmmm. "Should" may be the operative word.
Here is what I think the deal is on the ignition. They must have cut the front end of the engine and covered it with that tin pan and not had a way to mount the timer so they devised this ignition system. Lots of stuff to see in the picture. Wish I had a couple more pics of it.
Air starts aren't totally dead. I used to have a German sailplane with a "sustainer" engine. It was a little two-cylinder, two-stroke, retractable engine and folding prop that tucked away in the fuselage behind my head. If I had run out of lift and were in danger of christening Farmer Jones's International Gliderport, I'd pop the engine. While it was extending from the fuselage, I'd turn on the ignition, prime the carburetor, and pull a decompression valve. When the engine was fully extended, I'd dive to about 70 knots and the prop would windmill. Then I'd close the compression release, the engine would start, and I'd drive home. The rate of climb at lower altitudes was about 200 feet/minute. There wasn't enough static thrust to take off with the critter, so I still had to operate from an airport with a towing service; hence "sustainer". Some of the newer, more powerful versions are self-launching.
Gil Fitzhugh, Morristown, NJ
If airplane engines turn counter clockwise as viewed from the cockpit, what is the gentleman standing on the axle in the above picture trying to do? He sure can't be trying to start the plane by pulling up on the prop....or is it counterclockwise as viewed from the front of the plane?
Rotation would be correct. The prop on a standard airplane turns counter clockwise in relation to the front of the plane. You pull down on the left half of the prop to start it. (You stand in front of the prop when hand starting.) Good idea to check the brakes.
I just had dinner with an old friend who has been the local Forest Service pilot here for the last 49 years. I was telling him about the T engine. He said he has been flying for so long that when he started it was all steam power.
Yeah, but can you sit it down in the Hudson?
I agree with Gary, the stock T crankshaft isn't something I'd want to attach a prop to and trust with my life...but had I lived in that era I would not know what I know now and would jump at the opportunity! I bet if you were 20 years old in 1925, you would too, Gary The thrill far outweighs the risk when we don't know any better.
About 20 years ago I got the opportunity to go up in a friend's VW-powered homebuilt, and jumped at the chance. I won't say I wasn't scared, bt it was due more to my lack of confidence in his mechanical ability than distrust of the VW engine. Even though I understand much more now about gyroscopic and harmonic effects on metal, I won't say that I wouldn't go up in one again. Even though I also think the VW engine is leaps and bounds ahead of the T engine as far as reliability in both the engineeering and materials (although still not an aircraft quality engine in stock form), I'd probably take a short ride in a T-powered plane too (key word being "short"). I've courted the idea for a few years now of buying a Rotax-powered ultralight. That even after experiencing an engine failure on a Rotax-powered PWC a mile offshore in <60-degree water, after my son had blown out the bottom of our second craft and had already been in the water for near an hour. The dire situation we were in really didn't dawn on me until he (blue skin and shivering) and I were sitting on the deck of a cruiser that fortunately had passed by and realized we were in trouble. We always jet-ski in pairs to prevent problems like that, but that day I realized that we could have very easily died because of a Rotax engine failure. I know a Rotax aircraft engine is a bit more advanced than a Rotax marine engine, but like the T, VW, Continental, Lycoming, etc., they're still just engines that can fail at the drop of a hat. That doesn't change the fact that now as in the 20's a lot of fellas want to get in the air bad enough that, as I said before, they will let the thrill outweigh the risk. Of course, its easy to talk sitting here on the couch watching Westminster Dog Show!
All kidding aside, there were doble powered steam aircraft engines. I've seen a home movie of one. The main feature they were after was the silent engine for military stealth use. This was in the late 30's I think (it's been at least a decade since I saw it).
Yep, Doble and Besler too
Besler Airspeed 2000; steam power.
Planes of the T era had low wing loading, and low landing speeds, and they usually flew where forced landings were not unsafe. They didn't try to fly in all weather, either.
By the tail, that Besler is a Travel Air of 1927 or later, predecessor of the Beechcraft line.
There's a steam powered aircraft engine in the museum at Robbins AFB near MAcon, GA. 3 cylinder radial, as I recall.
About that engine,......somebody early in this thread mentioned how much work it must have been to lighten that engine and make it "air cooled". I agree, and I'm wondering just how all of that work was done. Would most of that have been done on a milling machine?
I'm thinking that by removing so much metal from the cylinder head casting, it must be considerably weakened as well as being made lighter. I think all of that wire that's strung across the cylinder head was put there to afford some additional strength to support the combustion chambers due to the weakening by removal of all of the outside metal that originally formed the water jacket. I just don't see how the wire could have been installed tightly enough to do much good. I also agree with Mack; it would seem as tho' after shutting down a hot engine, the valves would warp from too rapid a cooling period.
Very interesting engine, and I'm surprised that this thread has not generated more discussion by guys that are knowledgable about Model T engines. Does anybody besides me feel that this engine would be very "short-lived" due to the extreme modifications? Model T engines seem to suffer enough cracks in castings in stock form; I can't imagine how long this engine would last (or woudn't last) after a number of heatings and coolings. (???)
I wonder if "cold air warping valves after shutdown" isn't an old wives' tale? Our Fronty had 8" straight pipes, and never warped. I'd like to see the theory behind that.
Ralph - I don't know either, but I recall seeing a lot of drag racers immediately plugging exhaust headers with some sort of rubber ball arrangement to keep valves from cooling too quickly. Apparently, they didn't feel it was an old wives' tale,...(???)
I saw the engine at Hershey. My impression was that it was cut down with a cold chisel and filed somewhat smooth. At any rate, it looked to be all done by hand. There may have been a hack saw used also. As to the wires, they were done incredibly neat and were very tight. That was really the part of this engine that I found fascinating. I don't think for a moment that they added any strength however. They probably would have done nothing more than hold the broken pieces in place.
Harold, I am also surprised that there wasnt many others who knew much about these type of conversions.
When we came across this engine, the fellow just had this piece and another aircooled airplane engine on his trailer. The other engine was a purpose built engine and not a conversion. My impression was this fellow knew a little about aircraft.
While I was standing there I kept wondering how all of the extra material was removed. It was very well done, the edges were smooth, with no sharp corners. I only could speculate it was all done by hand.
The owner also said that it had at least 4 flights before the crash.
Ahh, "Flight Tested Parts".
And crash tested.
I still think the wires are there as ersatz cooling fins - not very effective, though.
Herb Iffrig came by today and said he wanted to show me something. He pulled up the Model T forum with the discussion and pictures of the "naked" Model T engine my father used to own. He sold it shortly before he died 4 years ago. Here's what I know from listening to my Dad and reviewing a videotape from 1984 of my Dad talking about this engine. Dad got the engine from the original builder...sadly I don't remember the name but he lived in Wincester,IL. The builder said he wanted to see his farm from the air and he had seen an airplane and could build one...and he did. Not only did he design and build the airplane..a bi-plane..but he flew it with this engine and had even taken his sister up with him. Said he broke a number of props learning to fly but could carve a new one pretty quickly. When asked about the homemade oil pan..no way to add or check oil..the response was he put in two quarts of oil before he sealed it so he knew it was in there. Some metal deflectors have been removed or broken since Dad sold it. The builder told Dad that when he flew he could see places on the engine that got red hot..so he added these small pieces of sheet metal to deflect air to those specific areas. The builder also admitted that the rudder was way too small. I have a not so clear copy of a picture of the plane. I don't have any idea how many times the plane actually flew...but the term "those daring young men in their flying machines" certainly applies. The builder did live to be 94 years old. My Dad really enjoyed talking with the builder and had no reason to doubt what he was saying. My Dad enjoyed owning this unique engine and was hoping to build a plane he could trailer to various meets. He had no intention of trying to fly with it...He was going to call it the "Pitiful Penguin." He just thought people would enjoy seeing that "naked" T engine run. He got it partially built but never finished. I hope whoever owns it now enjoys having it as much as my Dad.
Thats a heck of a story, and a fellow I would have loved to have met.
Here are some photos
2 more pictures
Greg if you are referring to Laren's dad you are correct. He was a man everyone would have liked. He was one of the guys who got me interested in these old cars. Laren's dad had an unique way of presenting something old. I probably first met him in the late seventies at our local Old Time Picnic. He might have some piece of railroad thing or a gas powered pogo stick, it was never anything ordinary. I always looked forward to the picnic and being able to see what treasure would be on display.
Laren, did your father get any idea on how the ignition worked from the builder?
Laren, I enjoyed seeing those pictures of your dad.
I wonder if the builder's name was McLaughlin. If it was and he was from Winchester IL, then I'm related to him.
He's far more brave than I am.
I would no more fly that, than I would ride this!
I saw Billy Poohbah's T powered airplane at his top secret facility in Reseda. T powered maybe, but true to Billy's style it was far from stock. I am sure he didn't have to worry about a wimpy T crank screwing its way through the thrust bearing. Not that Billy ever worried about anything. He talked about flying it to the Oshkosh show years back and only had to make three forced landings. Said it would stall at about 40 mph and take off on a real short runway or whatever was at hand.
Chris never had a pilots license. He was going to get one but there was something about flying on instruments that didn't set well with him. "Instruments? I've got a toggle switch and a tach! it's all I need!"
Billy was a legendary figure. the T world isn't quite the same without him.
Roger, about that ignition...I'm sorry to have to admit I did not inherit my Dad's mechanical gene. When he and others would talk about the engine the unique ignition was discussed...usually in terms I didn't understand but I do remember hearing that the ignition involved two wires that would make contact by being activated by the valves. I'm guessing Stan Howe was pretty close in his assessment.
Dick, sorry--I don't know the name of the builder but do remember Dad mentioning that the man had also built his farm house out of concrete...constructing the forms so that the concrete would look like lap siding. So if you remember a concrete farm house we may now have a name.
In searching the USPTO for an unrelated patent, I came across the
following patent that may be of interest to those who were pondering
the unique ignition system on this converted engine.
How is the ignition timing adjusted with the valve operated timer? A Model T engine is certainly not something you can trust your life with, but having low voltage timing contacts located at the valves where there is an abundant flow of oil is only go to make it more unreliable
I am afraid that I am the wrong person to answer your questions,
as I only posted the link because I thought it might be the same or
similar to the device shown in the original photos, and as such could
add to, or be of interest to those in the discussion.
I doubt that the inventor envisioned it would be used in a T powered
The Billy Poohbah car is in my garage. I purchased it from Chris just two months before he died. He cooled the engine in his hill climber with the skinny radiator out of his Pietenpol airplane. He would not let me have the radiator because he was going to use it in the airplane again someday.
The car is currently under restoration and we are making it more roadworthy with a larger radiator and actual suspension. When he won the King of the Hill trophy in Long Beach CA, actually signal Hill, he had the rear axle fastened to the frame with u-bolts and no radius rods or rear springs at all. The car is very light and the body is aluminum. We will use Buffalo wire wheels. Chris used rather small wheels and tires in order to get the proper gear ratio for hill climbing at full r.p.m.
The car has a Whippet radiator shell and Chris hid the narrow airplane radiator behind a piece of plastic window screen, Aaron Griffy had the top tank for a Whippet radiator and was gracious enough to give it to me. I still owe him a big favor for sure. I had a new three row double fin core made with a Model T lower tank to make it simple for installation and good cooling of that hot BBR RAJO. Chris did not run the Pietenpol engine in the car. The picture is not as the car will be built and is just sort of stacked together to get an idea about the suspension and to relocate the engine forward where it belongs. Chris only ran a 24 inch long driveshaft in it. When it was painted orange and had the big megaphone exhaust it was fast but did not win. The next year he ran spaghetti headers and painted it blue and won the coveted King of the Hill crown.
How was Cabo Wabo, Frank?
Does anybody have a pic of the King's crown?
Cabo was great for all three weeks Ralph, 78 to 82 every day. Yes here is a picture of the crown.
ouch! think i would prefer a velvet lining but i suppose it could be worse..kevlar perhaps..getting back to the valve operating ignition... based on then-current thinking, the engine might run at full advance and open throttle with a kill button to control engine speed..then common on rotary aircraft engines and track motorcycles...again, an advance/retard and throttle mean more stuff to break or stick. once started the engine must run pretty much full out anyway [at least to fly].
I like the crown, and in particular the fact that it's adjustable to fit any size head.
Dave , What is that timer on the crown off of ? I have one that is simular . Stamped on cover is LEAVITT IMPROVED TIMER mfg by UNCAS SPECIALTY CO NORWICH CONN. Bubby Sharp in KY
Here is something I found on Centralist:
Ford Model T Engine converted with a 1950's kit into an Airplane Engine.
VERY CLEAN - MUST SELL $1000 OBO
Is that an earlier non-starter, non-generator engine?
It appears to be Herb - it looks like there is a bolted on side cover where the generator mount would be bolted.
My mistake - meant to state that it appears to be a starter block.