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Al Shukle's Gilbert Erector WWI Aircraft Engines - Part 2

Hi folks, Doc here. Al returns with an epilogue to his tongue-in-cheek history of the imaginary WWI-era Heimlich Motoren Werke (you can read that history HERE). And, as before, Al has also recreated four more of Heimlich's best engines using Gilbert Erector parts, once again basing his designs on authentic engines of the period. Al's imagined history continues to entertain, while his models illustrate how successfully metal construction systems can be used in actual engineering applications. Read on, and enjoy...

History of the Heimlich Motoren Werke, Gmbh: EPILOGUE by Al Shukle

By the 1930's, the Heimlich name had faded from public memory; but not in its influence. The Coupe Deutsch air racing event was the European equivalent of the Thompson Trophy Races held in the United States. Unlike America where bigger is always better, the Coupe Deutsch rules limited engine displacement to eight liters, 488 cubic inches. Into this ring of high-revving, multi-cylinder, small displacement engines, Gerhard Ulrich, a grand nephew of the old Count Otto von Heimlich, threw his hat. In order to obtain his wealthy uncle's financial support, Ulrich was forced to incorporate the Heimlich patented double underhead cam valve actuation system; a system rejected by every designer of high performance engines for the previous twenty years. Despite this handicap, Ulrich persevered. The opposed flat six cylinder configuration was only marginally less drag-inducing than a radial and much worse than the inline Vee configuration of the French Delage concern which powered the Caudron racing planes. Like all the earlier Heimlich designs, the Ulrich achieved some initial success. However, in the harsh and unforgiving world of 1930's air racing, it ultimately failed. Sic transit Gloria mundi. [Thus passes away the glory of the world.]

N.B. The careful reader will have observed an uncanny similarity of all the engine test stands. It seems Count von Heimlich was successful in this area at least. Many manufacturers adopted his design. Unfortunately, as fate would have it, von Heimlich neglected to patent his one successful invention.

* Doc's note: The Coupe Deutsch and Thompson Trophy air races, Delage, Farman, Napier and Rolls-Royce aircraft engines, and Caudron aircraft mentioned in Al's piece all actually existed.

Heimlich Aircraft Engine Pictorials

Ulrich Opposed 6
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