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Henry Ford Once Envisioned a Massive 10-Propeller Opposed-Piston Diesel Airplane

Posted June 02, 2020 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: airplane Concept Ford history

By the latter half of the 1920s, as interest in general aviation began to take off, it was almost expected of Henry Ford to offer a simple and inexpensive airplane for the masses, just as he did with the Model T. However, while his engineers did indeed develop such a plane, Ford's ideas about aviation tended to be more esoteric, as we can see from the 10-propeller diesel plane he proposed in 1930.

Ford's brief aeronautic quest might best be associated with William Bushnell Stout and the Ford Tri-Motor these days, maybe even the never-produced Sky Flivver (or, if you will, the Willow Run bomber plant and the assembly line production of B-24s), but his patent filings during that time reveal greater ambitions, mostly involving opposed-piston engines. Another day, another weird Ford concept.

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#1

Re: Henry Ford Once Envisioned a Massive 10-Propeller Opposed-Piston Diesel Airplane

06/08/2020 10:43 PM

Not weird, but prescient. Then as now, diesels offered better efficiency, hence greater range, and the picture shows an airplane clearly intended to be capable of vertical takeoff and landing. The opposed piston arrangement is more efficient in its use of materials, which is why Junkers made its diesel aero-engines that way, years later.

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Re: Henry Ford Once Envisioned a Massive 10-Propeller Opposed-Piston Diesel Airplane

06/09/2020 12:32 AM

The opposed cylinders also make a flat engine, which could fit inside the wing, or otherwise be more aerodynamic.

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Re: Henry Ford Once Envisioned a Massive 10-Propeller Opposed-Piston Diesel Airplane

06/08/2020 11:19 PM

I think this Corvair of the air has serious conceptual problems.

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Re: Henry Ford Once Envisioned a Massive 10-Propeller Opposed-Piston Diesel Airplane

06/09/2020 8:42 AM

The opposed piston design has been around for a long time,and was used in large ships.

They were very efficient.

Very simple construction compared to Otto engines.

On a two cycle scavenger type diesel,no valves,cams,lifters,etc.

No head gaskets to blow.

My question is,why are they not used today in cars?

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Re: Henry Ford Once Envisioned a Massive 10-Propeller Opposed-Piston Diesel Airplane

06/09/2020 12:33 PM

One reason would be air pollution.

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Re: Henry Ford Once Envisioned a Massive 10-Propeller Opposed-Piston Diesel Airplane

06/09/2020 11:36 PM

I found this article..actually the emissions are lower.

The old technology may be about to be making a comeback.

Check it out:

https://www.motortrend.com/news/at-least-one-automaker-plans-to-produce-an-opposed-piston-engine/

And:

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/columns/a25224238/achates-opposed-piston-engine/

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Re: Henry Ford Once Envisioned a Massive 10-Propeller Opposed-Piston Diesel Airplane

06/10/2020 12:49 AM

With this additional information, the idea becomes more intriguing. Thanks.

As to the only drawing so far, I saw six (not 10) propellers. The overlapping forward propellers look like a vibration nuisance from asymmetrical airflow. Also, small-diameter high-rpm props don't seem efficient for lift generation.

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