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284. The First Signs of Spring

26/02/2017

1264 is still safely hibernating in her carcoon, but along with the snowdrops, things are stirring in the woods.

Last week we had notification from the people checking the tacho that they are on with it, and that while they can’t alter the internal configuration to make it read correctly they can fit a little in-line gearbox in the tacho cable to sort the problem out.

This means that the drive to the tacho will go through a 1:1.8 increase in speed between the crankcase and the oil pump; a 3.6:1 reduction between the oil pump and the front end of the taco cable; and a 1:2 increase in the middle of the cable! Go figure.

Of equal significance is the news that the engineers relining the cylinders are nearly done, and they should be back at the Shuttleworth in a week. Everything else is ready – new pistons, new rings – and so it’s only a question of reassembly once Phil’s finished on the Mew Gull engine (which was spitting iron filings at the end of the season). And then we can bring the airframe over and reunite the two. We are hopeful that with all the work that’s done, we may see an increase in performance. What we had before was perfectly acceptable, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could confirm the performance figures generated 100 year ago?

And the third piece of winter work that’s coming to fruition is Stephen Saunders’ film. He has booked the Prince of Wales cinema in Leicester Square at lunchtime on 11 April for the premiere, and we are getting ourselves psyched up for the red carpet (stained with castor oil, of course)!

Things are definitely picking up…

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6 Comments
  1. Ted Timberlake permalink

    Thank you for the update on the engine. Will it be test run before installing into the airframe?

    • No Shuttleworth don’t have a test rig. They always test them in the aircraft. It’s a good way of checking all the other systems.

  2. Ted Timberlake permalink

    Thank you for this, and good luck when the time comes. Hopefully she will run a sweet as a nut. Looking back through the threads the problem seems to have arisen due to the wrong type of castor oil, plus the oil feed accidently turned off. Mention is made of using Castrol R which I guess should solve the running problems going forwards.

    • Correct. We’ve no evidence that the castor oil actually caused damage, but it was absolutely filthy inside, so we definitely need to switch to Castrol R40, which has the necessary detergents and other additives, whatever TVAL says!
      In fact the damage caused by running without oil for half an hour was astonishingly light – one piston slightly blued, and a tiny amount of pickup on a couple of cylinders. We could have got her back in the air with a lot less work, but it seemed sensible while it was in pieces to do the whole shooting match, with new matched pistons all round, all the cylinders relined and honed to datum, and new rings, the old ones being not perfectly round.

  3. Ted Timberlake permalink

    Sorry for all the questions but the rotary being a rare beast today especially one to be used in anger is very interesting. My questions are about balancing components for smooth running. In a reciprocating engine for best performance all the moving parts are carefully balanced; pistons con rods, etc. Given that in the rotary these to all intents are stationary and it is the engine itself that is the moving part, what are the needs for balancing components.

    • No sweat – it’s a pleasure!
      Balancing is a doddle. Everything is turning in exact circles – no reciprocating loads.
      And since it’s only doing 1250 rpm max, (albeit on a longish diameter) it doesn’t appear to be too critical.
      That said, my Grandad reported lots of vibration in 1264 with the le Rhone, but whether that was a balance issue or uneven firing I don’t know.

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