Aeroplane engine

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Postcard of Aeroplane engine.
© National Museums Scotland

Aeroplane engine

This Kestrel 1 aero engine was made around 1930 by Rolls Royce Ltd. This example was sectioned for RAF instructional purposes. The Kestrel was a neat, uncluttered engine which enabled it to be installed on the nose of various types, giving minimal frontal area.

The 12-cylinder, 490-horsepower Kestrel 1 engine is an early example of the engine devoid of a supercharger. Its cylinders are arranged in two banks of six in a 'V' configuration, set at 60 degrees. The engine is of the 'monobloc' principle - the cylinder heads with the necessary inlet and exhaust passages are cast integrally into the walls forming the water jackets. The cylinder blocks were made from aluminium alloy. The engine has a nameplate on the front reading 'ROLLS-ROYCE KESTREL I, GEAR UNIT No G.U. 1822'.

Forerunner of the famous 'Merlin' engine, the 'Kestrel' became the power-plant for many notable pre-war RAF aircraft, including the 'Hawker Hart' and 'Hind' light bombers as operated by No.603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, prior to 1939. The Kestrel was the first Rolls Royce Vee-12 to have its cylinders moulded in a single block from the engine block - as opposed to having separate tubes - which saved weight and complexity. This design feature was developed from experience gained from Fairey Aviation putting the American Curtiss D-12 engine into production for the excellent Fairey Fox day bomber.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-371-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1980.313
Date: Around 1930
c. 1930
Material: Inscription: E30010 / 1 ; E30011 / 2 ; ROLLS-ROYCE KESTREL I, GEAR UNIT No G.U. 1822
Dimensions: 66.00" x 26.00" x 39.00"
What: Engine, aero
Subject: 1. AERONAUTICS, Piston engines (Departmental Classification)
Who: Rolls-Royce (Maker)
Description: Kestrel aero-engine, a twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engine with one cylinder and one rocker-cover sectioned, by Rolls-Royce, c. 1930
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