Pratt & Whitney R-1340
Wasp Radial Engine

1925

Aircraft engines, considered unreliable during the first 20 years of aviation due to their need for liquid-cooling, heavy weight and other inconsistencies, were given a revolutionary boost with the development of Pratt & Whitney’s R-1340 Wasp Radial Engine in 1925.

Engineers led by Chief Executive Officer Fredrick Rentschler, Vice President of Engineering George Mead, and Chief Engineer Andy Willgoos implemented a number of improvements: a single piece master rod allowed the engine to operate at a higher number of revolutions per minute, producing more horsepower; a two-piece crankshaft able to maintain required tolerances – making the single piece master rod possible; and a split crankcase with two identical halves. This improve the engine’s manufacturability, reducing assembly time and complexity.

These innovations set a new standard for aircraft engine reliability, impacting commercial aviation and transcontinental mail service, and leading to more advanced aircraft in the late 1920s and early 1930s – such as the Boeing 247. Over 90 versions of the R-1340 engine are in operation today.

Pratt & Whitney Wasp Engine
Pratt & Whitney Wasp Plaque
 
ASME President Julio Guerrero (left) with Pratt & Whitney Retiree Bud Lewis, and President Bob Leduc at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT.
 


 
 

Landmark Location

New England Air Museum,
36 Perimeter Road,
Windsor Locks, CT 06096

Visiting Info:

Open 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; closed on Monday’s from Sept. 12 through May.
https://www.neam.org/
(860) 623-3305

Ceremony Notes:

August 27, 2015. Plaque presented by ASME President Julio Guerrero.