Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major

Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major aircraft engine at the New England Air Museum


Type:   28-cylinder, 4-row, supercharged, air-cooled, radial, piston
Displacement:   4,362.5 cu. in.
Weight:   3,870 lbs.
Power Output:   3,000 hp @ 2,700 rpm
Year:   1944
NEAM Id:   6
Location:   Military Hangar

Courtesy of Pratt & Whitney Group United Technologies Corporation

Pratt & Whitney's last radial piston engine was the 28-cylinder Wasp Major. The largest piston engine the company produced displacing 4,360 cubic inches. Growth models developed ratings up to 4,300 horsepower.

The engine was configured with four rows of cylinders arranged in a spiral to enhance cooling. While the design was initated early in World War II, production did not occur until near the end of war. Production ended in 1955 with 18,679 produced. Its primary application was heavy transports and bombers.

Prominent aircraft that used the Wasp Major include:

  • Aero Spacelines Mini Guppy and Pregnant Guppy
  • Boeing 377 Straocruiser and C-97/KC-97 “Stratofreighter”
  • Convair B-36 Peacemaker
  • Douglas C-74 Globemaster
  • Douglas C-124 Globemaster II
  • Douglas TB2D Skypirate
  • Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
  • Goodyear F2G Super Corsair
  • Hughes H-4 Hercules (“Spruce Goose”)
  • Martin AM Mauler
  • Martin JRM Mars
  • Northrop YB-35

An Air Force B-50, also powered by four Wasp Major engines, was the first airplane to fly nonstop around the globe, a feat made possible by aerial refueling.

The advent and rapid devlopment of jet engines soon made piston engines, such as the Wasp Major, that powered military and many commercial aircraft obsolete.

Source: Pratt & Whitney

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