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92. Propulsion

16/01/2014

Yesterday Theo went to the Shuttleworth Collection to collect an original Bristol Scout propeller that’s normally hanging on the wall.

An original Bristol Scout propeller spotted at the Shuttleworth Collection. It looks as if it's made in Walnut, which is what the parts list specifies.

An original Bristol Scout propeller spotted at the Shuttleworth Collection. It looks as if it’s made in Walnut, which is what the parts list specifies.

So do we get to bolt it onto the front of 1264? Well, no. But Theo’s off today to take it to Rupert Wasey at Hercules Propellers, who will scan it digitally and make a copy for us. And the weird thing is that the original specification calls for it to be made of walnut, and we thought this would be hard to come by, since most wooden propellers these days are made of mahogany.

But the current restrictions on trading of hardwoods mean that mahogany is very difficult to come by (Rupert has managed to get hold of a load of old church pews recently, but that’s about the only place you’re likely to find any) but the easiest suitable alternative he can source in new wood is… walnut!

Clearly, we are a little way down the line before we’ll be ready to fir the propeller, but it’s something useful we can be doing while we get on with other things.

While he was there, Theo took a close look at the oil bubbler fitted to their new Sopwith Camel reproduction.

Oil bubbler

The oil bubbler is on the left

The oil ‘bubbler’ is an instrument that confirms that there’s oil flowing to the engine. Caastor oil from the pump is fed via the copper pipe at the bottom to a nozzle in the middle of the instrument, which spouts upwards inside the glass dome, and is then collected at the bottom and goes back, via another pipe at the back of the instrument, to the engine.

They were standard equipment on all rotary engines because you used so much, and because it was clearly important to know if the oil wasn’t flowing!

In practice, I gather most experienced pilots say they never look at the thing in flight because it’s tucked away in a dark corner of the instrument panel, and because you know instantly if there’s no oil since your goggles don’t get covered in the stuff! But one has to be fitted, and we want to make sure we’ve left enough space on the panel for it.

In the meantime, Rick and I were busy setting up the method of making the patterns for the petrol tank. It’s very complex, and warrants a separate blog entry on its own…

 

 

 

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