The Engine Cooling Fan Club

by Phil Kennedy, SprintAero.
As published in Sport Flying Magazine, Winter 2015.
SAA SP1961

Some of the most successful manufacturers of air-cooled engines, in both numbers and horsepower outputs, have updated their engines with close fitting cooling shrouds and fans. So when the majority of the air-cooled engines fitted to homebuilt aircraft have neither proper shrouds nor fans, the question needs to be asked—WHY?

So before we get into the technical stuff, let’s qualify some of the statements made.

The most successful and prolific air-cooled engine manufacturer would have to be Volkswagen with the various
versions of the Beetle and Combi. The Type 1 through to the Type 4 all have carefully designed multi-piece shrouds and barrel type centrifugal fans.

The most successful air-cooled engine manufacturer for horsepower would have to be Pratt & Whitney with four R-4360s buried in the wing of the XB-35 flying wing. These engines had very close-fitting shrouds on each cylinder and fans placed at the front to force feed air into the ducting.

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Posted in Aero Articles


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