Continental (Wright) R-975, Radial 9 Engine

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Continental built this engine under license from Wright. It is a member of the Wright J-6 Whirlwind family, which was sometimes referred to as the J-6-9. The well known designers Sam Heron, and Charles Lawrance were involved during the mid-1920s with the original version of the J-6, which produced up to 336 kW (450 hp).

During World War II, the further developed Continental engine was installed in medium tanks. Following the war, the R-975 (an improved J-6) was used in Piasecki and Kaman helicopters for the Army, Navy and Air Force.

This artifact was a spare engine for the museum’s XV-1 Convertiplane, a mid-1950s USAF and McDonnell joint development using a jet-driven motor for vertical flight and standard pusher propeller for forward flight. Because it was submerged within the fuselage, the R-975 was equipped with a cooling fan. By 1961, conventional helicopters achieved the same flight speed as the Convertiplane, thus dooming this particular concept.