Wright Cyclone R-1820-97 (Studebaker), 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:

Developed in 1927 with a rating of 429 kW (575 hp), the Wright Cyclone air-cooled engine gained favor among aircraft builders because of its high fuel economy, long service life, easy and economical maintenance, and low weight/horsepower ratio. Through progressive improvements, the rating of later models was raised to an impressive 895 kW (1,200 shp) for takeoff.

Air-cooled radial engines such as the Wright Cyclone and Pratt & Whitney Wasp became the standards for naval aircraft. Their advantages also appealed to designers of commercial air transports. With few exceptions, commercial air transports throughout the world relied on air-cooled radial engines until the advent of jet engines.

This R-1820-97 was manufactured under license by Studebaker. A total of 64,093 R-1820-97 engines were built between July 1942 and October 1943, more than any other model in the R-1820 series. The -97 powered the Boeing B-17E/F/G, Douglas B17F-DL/-19G-DL, Vega B17F-VE/17G-VE, and Northrop N-1-25A.

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


Wright Aeronautical

Credit Line

Found in the collection




Diameter 140 cm (55.10 in.), Length 122.5 cm (48.23 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Physical Description

  • Type: Reciprocating, 9 cylinders, radial, air-cooled
  • Power rating: 895 kW (1,200 hp) at 2,500 rpm
  • Displacement: 29.88 L (1,823 cu in.)
  • Bore and Stroke: 155.6 mm (6.125 in.) x 174 mm (6.875 in.)
  • Weight (dry): 595 kg (1,310 lb)


PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary

Inventory Number