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Packard Diesel Aircraft

Packard Diesel Aircraft



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Published by: retread1 on Jan 26, 2010
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FIRST FLIGHT OF A PACKARD DIESEL POWEREDSTINSON DETROITER, X7654, 1928Capt. Lionel M. Woolson & Walter E. Lees, May, 1929
WALTER IS INVOLVED WITH DIESEL AIRCRAFT ENGINE PROJECT AT PACKARDIn Detroit at Packard, Walter became involved in a very special Project. Captain Lionel M.Woolson, the Chief Aeronautical Engineer and Dipl.Ing., Hermann I.A. Dorner, a diesel engineinventor from Hanover, Germany, designed the Packard diesel with the help of Packardengineers and Dorner's assistant, Adolph Widmann. Walter worked with Woolson and MarvinSteele, the assistant engineer.The historic first flight of the Packard diesel engine took place on September 19, 1928, atthe Packard proving grounds, Utica, Michigan. But the first unofficial test was made the nightbefore. Walter was given the distinction of flying the world's first diesel powered airplane flight.From Jo Cooper's PIONEER PILOT : WALTER RECALLS THE EARLY DAYS INTESTING THE ENGINEI made the first test in a Stinson, a cabin job, the SM-IDX "Detroiter". The official testflight was to be in the morning, but Captain Woolson and I took the plane up the evening before just to be sure.The engine had only one valve which acted as intake and exhaust. Our first test enginedid not even have short exhaust stacks, but exhausted directly out of the cylinder into the openair.It flew all right, but coming in to land, I couldn't throttle under 1500, so took off again. In mynext attempt at landing, I lined up the plane on a glide to the field, then cut the fuel off entirely andlanded with a dead stick.The next day I made several flights. Capt. Woolson had installed a revolving valve on theintake and exhaust ports. It was hooked to the throttle so that it was open for take off and flying,but then closed off the ports and put back suction in the cylinders so the engine would slow downwhen landing.I made many expereimental flights with Capt. Woolson, also with mechanics. Once wemade a flight to 19,000 feet without oxygen. We also made several night flights with automobileheadlights for landing lights. While flying one day, Capt. Woolson confided to me that he someday wanted to make an engine with one moving part.To start the engine in cold weather, we heated each cylinder with a blow torch, then ranthe engine to warm it up. The flying was done inside the Packard Proving grounds, approximately3/4 mile long and 1/4 mile wide. There was a hangar at one end.To impress the visitors who came out to see the engine run and fly, in winter time Capt.Woolson would call me up from the plant in Detroit, telling me the approximate time he and thevisitors would reach the Proving Grounds. We would warm the engine up in the hangar and keepit running until we saw the car with the Capt. and the visitors turn into the grounds. Then we
would shut the engine off and when they arrived, push the plane outside and start the enginebefore they could inspect it and see it was already warm.The first starter was a shot gun. Later, it was replaced by a special electrical starter. Wealso installed glow plugs in the head of each cylinder, hooked up directly to a large battery. Whenthe push button for the starter was depressed, contact with the glow plugs was made. At no timewas gasoline used to start the engine.SELECTION FROM WALTER LEE'S JOURNALPackard to Begin Building Diesel Plane Engines SoonWill Start Construction at Once on New ThreeStory Factory to Handle Work[From Aviation, March 2, 1929, vol. 26, no. 10]DETROIT, MICHIGAN - Indication that the Diesel type airplane engine, recently developed byCapt. L. M. Woolson, chief aeronautical engineer of the Packard Motor Car Co., will become acommercial reality and possibly a revolutionary factor in airplane design, is seen here in theannouncement of the concern that it will begin construction immediately of a $650,000 plant toproduce the engines in large quantity for the commercial market.The new plant, according to the announcement by Hugh J. Ferry, treasurer of thePackard firm, will be completed and in operation within five weeks. Between 600 and 700 menwill be employed and, according to the expectations, production will be carried on at the rate ofabout 500 Diesel engines per month by July.The Packard Diesel was announced first in October, following experiments coveringseveral years. The original engine was placed in a Stinson-Detroiter, which was flownsuccessfully by Captain Woolson and Walter Lees, Packard pilot. Since that time CaptainWoolson has built four of the engines, all of 200 hp. capacity, developing 1 hp. for every 2 lb. ofweight.
PACKARD DIESEL ENGINE:PACKARD MODEL DR-980 OF 1928This is the engine which made the Endurance Flight successful
TypeCylindersCoolingFuel injectionValvesIgnitionFuelHorsepowerBore and strokeCompression ratioDisplacementWeightWeight-horsepower ratioWhere manufacturedFuel consumptionFuel consumptionOil consumptionOutside diameterOverall lengthOptional accessories4-stroke cycle diesel9---static radial configurationAirDirectly into cylinders at a pressure of 6000 psiPoppet type, one per cylinderCompression---glow plugs for starting---air compression500 psi at 1000 F.Distillate or "furnace oil"225 at 1950 rpm4 13/.16 x 6 in.16:1---maximum combustion pressure 1500 psi982 cu in.510 lb without propeller hub2.26 lb hpU.S.A..46 lb per hp/hr at full speed.40 lb per hp/hr at cruising.04 lb per hp/hr45 11/16 in.36 3/4 in.Starter---Eclipse electric inertia; 6 volts. Special seriesno. 7Generator---Eclipse type G-1; 6 voltsInstruction Book for the Packard-Diesel Aircraft Engine (Detroit: Packard MotorCar Company, 1931), p. 3.The specifications from SMITHSONIAN ANNALS OF FLIGHT,The First Airplane Diesel EnginePackard Model DR-980 of 1928 - Robert B. Meyer 1964
Packard diesel-powered Stinson "Detroiter", 1929

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