On this day 95 years ago, the first aero engine developed by Pratt & Whitney (USA) was first run. This being the R-1340, a single row nine cylinder air cooled radial piston engine. Also known as the wasp series on the civilian side this family of engines ranged from 450 to 3,500 HP and eight of the largest R-4360 powered the Spruce Goose flying boat.
85 years ago on November 14, 1935 the very first Mark 1 model of the Norseman flew, Canadian registration CF-AYO. Originally powered by a 420 HP Wright R-975 Whirlwind, this was soon changed to the R-1340 on production models developing up to 600 HP because the Whirlwind was to small for the new design.
In todays world, where most things are considered obsolete in 5 to 10 years I simply find it amazing that we have an airplane still in use, basically unchanged with 100 year old technology! This speaks to the thought and ingenuity put into the Norseman design. On the other hand, Noorduyn wanted an airplane that used the tried and true methods of the day, that was simple and easy to repair when away from base and incorporated the ideas from daily operations of bush planes in the 1920’s to “30’s.
Another Norseman was recently resurrected and is back in commercial service! (subject for the next blogpost). Even 2020 can’t keep the Norseman grounded and many warbird enthusiasts continue their work on projects with plans to get them flying again.