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Le Rhone Type J By
1917 - 1918



The aircraft engine Le Rhône Type J, produced by the French company Société des Moteurs Gnome et Rhône, has been widely used, since 1914, in numerous French and British aircrafts during the First World War. The same engine was produced under license in other countries: in Italy by the Italian Gnome Motors Company and Rhône (SIMGER) in Turin to equip Nieuport aircrafts built under license by Macchi for the Italian Air Force Corps. Until the end of the First World War the engine was subject to continuous development, with various upgraded models; the last and most powerful one was the Type J By, equipped with aluminium pistons. The engine is of rotary type with radial cylinders: the crankshaft is fixed to the chassis of the aircraft and the cylinder block rotates around it togheter with the propeller. This scheme, introduced in the aviationl field in 1907 by the French brothers Luis and Laurent Seguin with the Gnôme Omega engine, was widely used from 1908 to 1918 by many manufacturers. It allowed to solve various matters of the early aircraft engines (above all ensuring a proper cooling effect) but, at the end of the First World War it resulted outdated by the development of other "conventional" engine designs.

Technical specifications

ManufacturerSociété des Moteurs Gnome et Rhône, Paris, France, from 1917 to 1918
TypeJ By
DesignerLouis Verdet
Description9-cylinder radial rotary aircraft engine, steel-made crankcase and cylinders with aluminium pistons
Stroke170 mm
Bore112 mm
Displacement15074 cm³
Compression ratio5.0
Power130 hp at 1350 rpm (maximum output at sea level)
Specific fuel consumption375 g/hp/h
Specific power8.6 hp/litro
Valvetrain system2 overhead valves per cylinder operated by a sole rocker arm and pushrod (for each cylinder)
Fuel feeding systemwith one single-barrel gasoline carburetor controlled by a sliding throttle
Ignition systemone spark plug per cylinder fed by two high voltage magneto distributors
Cooling systemair-fed
Lubrication systemforced by means of a pump
Diameter970 mm
Length850 mm
Weight132 kg
Mass-to-power ratio1.0 kg/hp


SPAD Herbemont

Hanriot HD.1 (fighter)

Morane-Saulnier AC

Nieuport 23, 24 e 27 (fighter)

Testi e immagini di Giuseppe Genchi
Sito realizzato da Pasquale Pillitteri