The Pratt & Whitney R-2800 was America’s first 18-cylinder radial engine. It was used in a myriad of aircraft during the Second World War. There were a pair hanging in the nacelles of the the Martin B-26 Marauder which was built in my hometown of Baltimore. Under that stretched snout on the Chance Vought F4U Corsair? Yep, there was one there too.
This was, at the time, the most powerful radial engine made during the war. It was such a good powerplant that they made over 125,000 of them.
Power ranged from a docile 1805 Horsepower to a mind numbing 2800 Horsepower, given in proportion that is like five and a half Z-06 Corvettes under the hood.
Today a corroded hulk lies quietly, suspended in the lifting rig over in the back of Area 53. It once looked this pretty and created insane amounts of horsepower. Now, like a side of beef, it hangs there, ashen colored cylinders corroded through and dissolved away from time and the elements. It’s future forlorn.
A full history of the R-2800 can me found here.
Check out the video selections of a restored Corsairs starting up their R-2800 Pratt and Whitney’s to thunderous life.