Tuesday, September 03, 2013

A Fun Work Day

I was scheduled for Cape May NJ today (KWWD) to meet with contractors to schedule punch list items and review a few issues.  While waiting for the meeting to start I heard a rumble on the ramp, the unmistakable sound of the four 1200 horsepower Wright R-1820-97 Radial monsters coming to life.  I jumped in my truck and drove down the ramp to see the Collings Foundation Bombers getting ready to depart Cape May for the next stop on their 2013 Wings Of Freedom Tour.

photo courtesy Simthsonian National Air and Space Museum
Developed in 1927 with a rating of 429 kW (575 hp), the Wright Cyclone air-cooled engine gained favor among aircraft builders because of its high fuel economy, long service life, easy and economical maintenance, and low weight/horsepower ratio. Through progressive improvements, the rating of later models was raised to an impressive 895 kW (1,200 shp) for takeoff.

Air-cooled radial engines such as the Wright Cyclone and Pratt & Whitney Wasp became the standards for naval aircraft. Their advantages also appealed to designers of commercial air transports. With few exceptions, commercial air transports throughout the world relied on air-cooled radial engines until the advent of jet engines.
This R-1820-97 was manufactured under license by Studebaker. A total of 64,093 R-1820-97 engines were built between July 1942 and October 1943, more than any other model in the R-1820 series. The -97 powered the Boeing B-17E/F/G, Douglas B17F-DL/-19G-DL, Vega B17F-VE/17G-VE, and Northrop N-1-25A.

One by one each aircraft started and taxied to runway two eight for departure. First the B-17G, Nine O Nine taxied on Alpha to the hold short at two eight. I heard the call on the radio and then the Wright Cyclones roared to life, she was on the roll.
 Next up was the Collings Foundation P-51C, Mustang, Betty Jane. Make no mistake this Mustang made some noise as the 1300 hp Packard Merlin V-1650-7 flexed it's muscle.
I did manage a short video as the P51 made a low pass before departing to the north. I'm working on getting that posted.
Next up the B24J, Witchcraft.  This is the ONLY one of the only TWO B24 aircraft still flying. The four 1200 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1830-65 Engines rumbled as she taxied for departure. With a call on CTAF the engines came up to power and the B24 was rolling. I Love the sound of the radials and watching them from the grass alongside the runway was awesome. 
If only every work day could be so much fun. Back to reality and my meeting followed by an hour and a half ride back to the office. At least I had a smile on my face all day!


ddf said...

Excuse me?!?! "A FUN work day"? I don't think so. Creating Project plans and Powerpoint is work. Looking at beautiful machines...that's not work. (Great stuff Gary, thanks for sharing.)

Gary said...

lol, fun and work, an oxymoron for sure! Every now and then there is that bright spot in the day that makes me feel it was worth going in, then the planes take off and it's back to reality.

D.B. said...

Hi Gary - a quick correction - there are actually 2 B-24's still flying. One is based in the Northeast (probably the one you saw), the other down here in TX, where we also have the only flying B-29. I've seen them both flying overhead at various times in New England and in Texas - great sound, that always makes me look up :)

Gary said...

D.B. Thanks, I made that correction. I didn't known the CAF had one.