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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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Wright Cyclone: 1942

Wright Cyclone: 1942

June 1942. "Inspecting a Cyclone airplane motor at North American Aviation in Long Beach, Calif." Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer. View full size.

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P 38

Not so much eliminating torque steer, but more making the effects on either engine the same, so no "critical engine". The other big advantage of counter-rotating engines was a lack of torque effects with power changes in combat. The P38 was jet like in this regard in being free of rolling or slewing effects with power changes. A very advanced airplane in spite of development troubles; in some ways the P38 was the F22 of its age (and similarly expensive).

Oppostie-Rotation Redux

A little more than torque involved, getting into the interaction of prop vortices and wings.
In any case, opposite rotation engines are the exception rather than the rule, and all of the US radial engines turned the same direction. Interchangeability and commonality was deemed far more important than any gains from an LR engine.

The P-38 is one of the few widely produced exceptions (and was offered to the RAF in a version with both engines turning the same direction)

One Way Only

All of the Cyclones turn the same way, so there isn't a left handed engine. However the accessories are not identical. One might have a hydraulic pump where the other has a generator etc, so there IS a difference in RH and LH engines on the same airplane.


The motors are marked "833 LH" and "333 RH" which I'm certain means they are bound for the same aircraft, left and right handed, but can someone more knowledgeable inform me - would they have been counter-rotating, that is one a clockwise and one a counter-clockwise rotating engine? Are they mirror-images in terms of exhaust placement, etc?

Rosie the riveter?

Nope. This is her sister.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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