New England Air Museum
Wright Aeronautical RC2-60 (Wankel)


Felix Wankel patented this innovative internal combustion engine in Germany in 1936. The engine rotates a triangular shaped cam connected to a drive shaft to accomplish the sequence of intake, compression, combustion and exhaust like in a four-stroke piston engine.

Wankel submitted his design to the German automobile company NSU who first built and tested the first rotary in 1957. The engine saw its greatest success in Mazda automobiles.

Wright Aeronautical adapted three RC2-60 automobile engines for flight testing in 1970 and were tested in a Cessna Cardinal, a Lockheed Q-Star and a Hughes TH-55 helicopter. While the tests demonstrated the feasibility, performance and quiet flight, there was little interest in the concept possible due to high fuel consumption and emissions concerns.

This engine is located in the Civilian Hangar on the wall near the Waco YKC-S.

If you have any information, comments on, or recollections of the Wright Aeronautical RC2-60 Rotary, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Type: Inverted inline 2-rotor, liquid-cooled, rotary
Displacement: 60 cu. in.
Weight: 237 lbs.
Power Output: 180-250 hp
Compression Ratio: 6.65:1
NEAM Id: 24


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