WO Bentley Rotary Aero Engines

bentley-aeroby Tom Dine

The man that did Britain proud in motor racing with his eponymous cars also designed engines for tanks and airplanes and made significant contributions to the very early days of flight.

This gook-looking volume would grace any aviation enthusiast’s coffee table. It’s printed throughout in color on high-grade paper and, in addition, there’s an A1-size copy of a detailed drawing of an AR1, plus a CD containing seven appendices in a PDF file. These contain good scans of various company and Air Ministry booklets, including instruction books, parts lists, etc.

bentley-aero1The main body of the book starts with a history of rotary engines and their pros and cons. We then get to the meat: a 24-page history of the development of the AR1 and the BR1. This is excellent, and provides as good a history of the development of these engines as you’re going to find, followed by a similar 27-page chapter on the BR2. There are still some gaps, but so long after the events, it’s possible that the complete story never will emerge.

Additional material includes a brief history of each aircraft type using Bentley engines, the same for subcontractors, plus an illustrated schedule of all known surviving Bentley engines and “Sopwith Survivors.” We also see a good many fascinating original documents and drawings, and the book is provided with comprehensive references.

bentley-aero-2In short, this is a tour de force on Bentley’s fabulous WWI rotaries, which I doubt will be bettered in many years. Highly recommended.


Copyright 2014, Cross & Cockade International (speedreaders.info).

WO Bentley Rotary Aero Engines
by Tom Dine
The WO Bentley Memorial Foundation, 2014
230 pages, illustrations + CD-ROM, hardcover
List Price: £55
ISBN 13: 978-0-9540901-6-6
RSS Feed - Comments

Leave a comment

(All comments are moderated: you will see it, but until it's approved no one else will.)