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Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013, 12:05 p.m.

Odd engine uses

  • Flying Heritage Collection

The FHC's M4A1 Sherman tank is powered by a 400-horsepower radial airplane engine. In more conventional uses, the Wright R-975 Whirlwind flew in the Beech Staggerwing, BT-9 and BT-15 trainer aircraft and even the Ford Tri-Motor passenger plane.

On the ground, a version of the 9-cylinder radial, mated to a special cooling fan assembly, "flew" in many Allied tanks and tank destroyers. Continental Motors, Inc. built the specialized engines during the war.

In fact, Continental built over 53,000 R-975s for ground use whereas Wright Aeronautical only produced slightly over 7,000 of the engine to fly in the skies. In this photo, the round engine and its cooling fan are being changed out by crews in the field.

Story tags » General Aviation

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