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A TECHNICAL & OPERATIONAL HISTORY OF THE LIBERTY E

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    Posted: 20 Oct 2009 at 12:59
A TECHNICAL & OPERATIONAL HISTORY OF THE LIBERTY ENGINE: Tanks, Ships and Aircraft 1917 – 1960LIBERTY ENGINE

Robert J Neal. Speciality Press, 39966 Grand Avenue, North Branch, MN 55056, USA. 616pp, 733 b/w and 35 colour photos, 116 drawings, diagrams and performance graphs, 225×285mm, hardback. ISBN 978-1-58007-149-9, £49.99
Click on the cover to order this book from Amazon!

This book originates from a serious study, over the last twenty years or so, of the non-automotive engines of the Packard Motor Company, a company which was intimately associated with the design and production of the US-built Liberty engine. The result is a massive tome containing all one needs to know about this engine. By the time the United States entered the War in 1917, the Allies had acquired a proliferation of aircraft and engine types and this lack of standardisation became a major obstacle to volume production and efficient maintenance. The Liberty engine was an attempt to produce a standardised engine design which could be built in several sizes by using different multiples of cylinders of the same design and with common parts.

The author gives a brief history of engine design from the Wright Brothers’ engine of 1903 to the military engines in use towards the end of the War, before tackling the story of the development of the Liberty engine itself. The speed by which the engine building programme as put into operation is very impressive. Detailed drawings were started on 29 May 1917 and two days later they were sufficiently advanced for the proposals to be presented before a joint meeting of the US Aircraft production Board and the Joint Army and navy Technical Board. The first L-8 (eight-cylinder) engine demonstration engine (the second to be built) was available by 31 July and a L-12 version first ran on 13 August and had completed a rigorous 50-hour test ten days later. The L-8 first flew on 29 August in a LWF aircraft and the L-12 on 21 October in a Navy Curtiss HS-1 and another in a DH-4 eight days later. Contract proposals for the L-8 came to nothing but contracts had been let for 15,500 L-12s with four engine manufacturers by 7 September and for a further 6500 with another four companies by 11 December. Actual production was in hand before March 1918 and around 8000 engines had been produced by September 1918. Unfortunately the availability of airframes lagged behind, only 1500 DH4s having been shipped by September 1918, too late to see effective service.

Post war developments and use are also discussed, including the design of superchargers and the involvement of other engine manufacturers, particularly Allison. Production in Britain and Russia is also covered along with the engine’s use in marine and tank applications. The book ends with sixty-six pages illustrating the various types of aircraft that used the engine and a further twenty pages of photographs of the engine in detail.
 
RS, Volume 40 Number 3


Edited by AndyK - 20 Oct 2009 at 13:48
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