Packard DR-980, 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:

This diesel engine was designed and built under the direction of the Packard Company’s Chief Aeronautical Engineer, L. M. Woolson. The objective was to achieve greater safety and economy through the substitution of heavy oil (furnace oil) for gasoline as fuel.

Approved Type Certificate No. 43 was issued by the Department of Commerce on March 3, 1930, and the engine was publicly shown for the first time during the Detroit Aircraft Show in April 1930. Between May 25 through 28, 1931 at Jacksonville, Florida, a world's non-refueled duration flight record of 84 1/2 hours was set. The Model DR-980 won the 1931 Collier Trophy.

The Packard Diesel DR-980 was the first compression ignition, oil-burning engine flown. It powered such aircraft as the: Stinson SM-1DX Detroiter; Packard-Bellanca Pacemaker; Verville Air Coach; Ford 11-AT-1 Trimotor; Goodyear Defender airship; Towle FA-3 Flying boat; Stewart M-2 Monoplane; Waco Taper Wing; and Consolidated XPT-8A aircraft.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from the U.S. Navy


  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Paint
  • Rubber
  • Nickel Plating


Diameter 116 cm (45.69 in.), Length 87.3 cm (34.38 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America


Circa 1930

Physical Description

  • Type: Reciprocating, 9 cylinders, single row, radial, air-cooled, fuel-injected, diesel
  • Power rating: 168 kW (225 hp) at 1,950 rpm
  • Displacement: 16.1 L (982 cu. in.)
  • Bore and Stroke: 122.238 mm (4.8125 in.) x 152 mm (6.0 in.)
  • Weight: 232 kg (510 lb)


PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary

Inventory Number