Pratt & Whitney "Wasp" Engines

“It’s hard to overestimate how important Pratt engines were from say, 1926/1927 to World War II, and through World War II. Pratt engines powered half the horsepower of all Allied aircraft: 600 million horsepower, 340,000 engines made by Pratt or its licensees like Ford Motor Company, General Motors...And then we think about the J-57, goes on the 707, brings us all into the jet age....So the history of Pratt is phenomenal.”

-Carl Cruff, Museum Docent

Pratt & Whitney’s R-1340 “Wasp” engine was a revelation in aircraft power. Completed in December 1925, it was the company’s first engine, and the most advanced of its time. It was quickly picked up by the Navy, and soon powered Navy and Air Force aircraft. The engines powered over 100 types of experimental and production aircraft, including fixed wing, helicopters, and K-ship blimp cars, between 1925 to 1960.

The New England Air Museum is home to many Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines, including a R-1340 Wasp A, courtesy of the Henry Ford Museum. The engine is in its original condition from 1925, and is the last in a series of twelve hand-built prototype engines, boasting serial #12. NEAM also is home to many variations of Wasp engines, including the Wasp Major, Twin Wasp, Wasp Junior, and the Double Wasp.


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