Straight & Level 12 February

Warning: engine on the loose

Following our item on the piston engine test on 12 February, John Wiseman sends in an extract from a “fascinating paper” by Kimble McCutcheon on the development of the Pratt & Whitney R-2800. It concerns an incident observed by test engineer Dana Waring.

“Waring was observing an engine running at full power in the test cell. It was outfitted with a metal flight propeller that, in conjunction with the short exhaust stacks, was making a huge amount of noise. In the blink of an eye, and with a loud bang, the engine rotated 180˚ in its test stand fixture, tore loose and came to rest on the floor, leaking oil and smoking. In the meantime, the propeller had sheared off and flown forward to the front of the test cell, knocking a dent in the concrete wall. It hovered there for a few revolutions until it lost momentum, then slid to the floor, still rotating. When the propeller blades began hitting the floor, the propeller began walking around… until it used up all its remaining momentum. Waring was thereafter very reluctant to enter the test cell while an engine was running.”


Detroit car bosses did not cover themselves in glory when they flew to Washington DC in corporate jets to blag federal funds during the financial crisis. So, it might seem ironic for Edsel Ford II – great-grandson of Henry and director of the auto giant – to be offering his “personal Citation Sovereign” for sale on a popular aircraft trading website. The auto companies offloaded their offending jets more subtly.

Locked in aroma

Hearing that Japan Airlines will serve a range of 16 cheeses on international flights, a Budgie scribe speculates that JAL may store the pungent fromages in a Dreamliner battery-style reinforced sealed container, allowing fumes to be vented out of the aircraft in an emergency. You might call it a Carephilly-controlled environment?

Return of the cat

A rare F7F Tigercat will be among the Grumman contingent at the first Gathering of Warbirds and Legends, being held in Topeka, Kansas, on 1-4 August.

The Tigercat was delivered at the end of the Second World War. The US Navy’s first twin-engined fighter was driven by two 2,500hp (1,860kW) Pratt & Whitney engines, and was in active service during the Korean war. Only six survive. More on the event at

badkitty.JPGBlow flying

We assume that this pilot flies the Boeing C-17 Globemaster in the background. But we enjoyed the Channel 7 caption writer’s mishear during the Avalon air show.

photo.JPGAir ship

This image of one of two 13m, 14t cutters being loaded into a Volga-Dnepr Antonov An-124 en route from Jordan to Tanzania gives a new meaning to the term “flying boat”.

The cutter loading.jpg


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

Leave a Reply