Collection Item Summary:
This was among the largest piston engines ever successfully produced. Design began in early-1936, and the first engine ran in mid-1937. Particularly troubled by catastrophic backfires during development and early application, the R-3350 powered a number of World War II era aircraft, the major application being the Boeing B-29.
It continued to give useful service after the war, with one version being the first of its type to have exhaust turbines geared into the power system. Used in airline service with the Douglas DC-7 and Lockheed Super Constellation, the Wright Turbo-Compound Cyclone was the last and the most highly developed piston engine to be widely used in large military and commercial airplanes.
The Wright Cyclone R-3350-57 was built between January 1944 and November 1945. A total of 6,958 of these engines were built, and powered the Boeing B-29/A/B, XB-29E, RB-29/A, TB-29/A/B, TRB-29A, C-97, YC-97, Lockheed C-121A, VC-121B, and Consolidated Vultee B-32.