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Wright 6-70, In-line 6 Engine


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Early Flight exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

The original Wright brothers engines were vertical, four cylinder types. In 1910, needing a more powerful engine for the Gordon Bennett Cup Race, a single V-8 was built for this major event, apparently using much of the original four cylinder design concept. However, the aircraft and engine were wrecked before the race.

Faced with the problem of providing increased power for production aircraft in 1911, but insisting on their original objective of simplicity, the Wright’s compromise was a vertical six-cylinder engine. The engine incorporated a flexible (rubber band) drive on the flywheel which greatly reduced vibration and considerably extended the life of the chain drive that operated the propellers. The Wright 6-70 powered the Wright Model D aircraft in 1913, and the model designation was derived from the number of cylinders and the horsepower. Originating as a 45 kW (60 hp) model, further development led to a 60 kW (80 hp) version.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


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

Credit Line

Transferred from the Department of the Navy, Bureau of Aeronautics.




  • 3-D: 114.3 × 38.1 × 78.7cm (45 × 15 × 31 in.)
  • Support: 62.9 × 100.3 × 52.1cm (24 3/4 in. × 39 1/2 in. × 20 1/2 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America


Circa 1913

Physical Description

  • Type: Reciprocating, in-line, 6 cylinders, water-cooled
  • Power rating: 52 kW (70 hp) at 1,400 rpm
  • Displacement: 6.64 L (405 cu in)
  • Bore and Stroke: 11.113 cm (4.375 in) x 11.430 cm (4.500 in)
  • Weight (wet): 159 kg (350 lb)


PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary

Inventory Number