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Aircraft Topics related to WWI aircraft, aircraft engines and armament

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Old 4 July 2005, 09:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hispano-Suiza engines

I know the Brits were a little hard pressed to find an adequate number of quality Hispano-Suiza engines to power the SE-5's and 5a's. In France at least two manufacturers were contracted to build them. One- whose name without a reference I recall as being "Brazier"- produced quality engines. However, at least one other contracter produced engines that varied from the mediocre to the miserable. The Brit's being on the low end of the Hisso distribution food chain recieved many of the lesser quality engines, if they could aquire even those. Regardless,as a result engine failures were common even by the low standards of the day.

Now to the point- it would be interesting to discover what sort "Hisso" was in C1883. Do such records exsist?

While I realize even if Grider's aircraft was documented as being powered by a suspect Hisso it would prove nothing in itself. But in the absence of a German claim it would seem groundfire or engine (and/or structual) failure would be the most likely causes.
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Old 5 July 2005, 09:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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C1883 was powered by a 200 hp Wolseley W.4A Viper (as per the SE5 File by Sturtivant and Page) which rules out failure of a below-par Hisso engine as the reason for Grider's loss.

Springs' claim near Menin was timed at 10:05 so we can assume that Grider went down (at Houplines, north-east of Armentieres and closer to there than Courtrai) sometime thereafter.

From the notes I have, Degelow's claim was timed at 08:30; since Grider departed at 09:15, this would seem to preclude Degelow as the victor.

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Old 6 July 2005, 06:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Got home last night and started hitting my available references regarding Hispano-Suiza engines and particularly as regarded "contract" built Hisso's. France (Mayen, Brazier that I know of), U.K. (Wolseley,Sunbeam that I know of) U.S. (Wright-Martin) were licensed to manufacture Hisso's. They all had their share of problems with manufacturing an engine that in many ways pushed the limits of available technology as well as manufacturing realities. There was quite a learning curve. In time many of the bugs were worked out- some weren't.

During the period of the war none of the licensed engines achieved the quality or the performance of the originals.Although there were also innovations developed by the contracters which in time improved the hisso's in particular and aircraft engines generally.

With the heavy demands put on Hispano-Suiza to produce engines for France to use in their Spads a Commonwealth pilot felt fortunate indeed if he was lucky enough to have an "Hispano-Hispano" powering his bus.

Wright-Martin produced fairly reliable contract engines but achieved this by derating the horsepower from 200 to 150. These engines were a performance improvement for the Jennys with a 90 hp OX-5. Good enough for a trainer. The French and the British could not afford to sacrifice hp in their prusuit aircraft and so were attempting to maximize the power potentials of the engine at the same time they were learning simply (or not) how to manufacture them in the first place. Broken crankshafts, compression leaks, failed bearings, ill-sized or ill-fitting cylinder sleeves, and warped valve stems were continual problems.A never-ending headache for the mechanics and a continual threat to the well being of the pilots. As if they needed to compound the risks they were already taking.
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Old 6 July 2005, 11:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hispano-Suiza contractors.

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In France there were at least six licensed manufacturers of the Hispano-Suiza engines for the S.E.5a, Sopwith 5F1 Dolphin, SPAD VII and XIII etc, Hispano Suiza, and Aries, Brazier, Delaunay-Bellville, DFP, Fives-Lille, Mayen and Peugeot.
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Old 6 July 2005, 12:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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For those as like to do google searches it might usefully be pointed out that the firm mentioned several times in this thread is usually spelled Brasier. Ransom
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Old 6 July 2005, 01:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've read very little on the Hisso problems, but got the impression that poor heat-treating of the reduction gearing, and subsequent gear failure, was the main problem with this engine. The direct drive British Viper versions got around this. Any truth to this?
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Old 7 July 2005, 07:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Tripehound,
Yes, particularly with either the Mayen or Brazier (Brasier? I have seen it spelled both ways) which sometimes would strip the reduction gears within hours. The gears were to be case hardened and the formula appears to have been trial and error. I can only assume techniques were either not being shared among the manufacturers or it was a case of hardheaded (and self-defeating) " the hell with that we gotta better way..."
At some point the Mayen built Hissos were considered so unreliable that they underwent a full overhaul when recieved at the front.The Wolseley engines apparently had problems with oil and compression leaks as well as failed crankshafts (which I think they redesigned to allow for more bearings, hence more support). Almost everybody had problems with casting the aluminum which as often as not contained high amounts of porosities and inclusions. One of the flaws in even the original engines was overly thin, hollow valve stems. When quickly throttled down the engines could draw cold exterior air which in turn often warpped the stems of the heated valves. This may help explain the addition of the long exhausts to SE-5a aircraft. I think Wright-Martin beefed up the stems to try to avoid this problem.
DanSan- Thanks for the more complete list of French Hisso manufaturers.
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Old 7 July 2005, 02:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The sweet sound of a Hisso.

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My friend Lee Branch and I were discussing the gear problems with the Hispano-Suiza 8Ba engine. I had tyhought the problem was improperly heat treated reduction gears. Lee said, "No, it was design failure in the copper feed pipe that brought oil to the reduction gears, the wall of the copper tubing was too thin and it failed under pressure, thus depriving the reduction gears of the necessary lubrication. Hispano-Suiza did not want it known that it was a design error, so they put out the story of the improper heat treating of the reduction gears."
Sunbeam was not licensed to produce the Hisso, only Wolseley in England and Wright-Martin in the U.S.A. Sunbeam had the Arab I with reduction gearing, rated at 200 hp @ 1600 rpm and 240 hp at 2000 rpm. The Royal Aircraft Factory had hoped to use this engine to solve the shortages of engines for the S.E.5a. The Arab II was a direct drive engine. This engine turn out to be a failure frought with many problems. It was also built under license by Austin Motor Co.
The sound of a Hisso was sweet and smooth, they ran like a sewing machine.
I have looked forward to Javier Arango, flying his S.E.5a with the direct drive Hisso. At idle with those long pipes, a the throaty rumble. The sound of the Hisso, is a sound like the Rolls-Royce Merlin, a sound you will never forget.
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Last edited by Dan_San_Abbott; 7 July 2005 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 8 July 2005, 07:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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With regard to the porous castings, I have read that this was partially cured by stove enameling them. I wonder what colour?
 
Old 8 July 2005, 10:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hisso enamel.

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The cylinder banks were were baked black enamel. The crankcase, intake manifold and carburettor were cast aluminum.
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