I found Graham White's article on Reno for Gearheads very
interesting. I am involved in PROJECT NORTH STAR which is
a restoration of a DC-4M (M for Merlin) airplane built by
Canadair under licence from Douglas after WWii for the RCAF
as a transport plane. As Merlin Crew chief my interest is
very great in the modifications to the 622 Merlins of which
the North Star has four (instead of radial engines).
North Stars were built in the late '40s for
Trans Canada Airlines, Canadian Pacific Airlines and British
Overseas Airways Corporation (the Bits called them "Argonauts")
as passenger airplanes, and for the RCAF as Transports. Of
course, they were very noisy with the Merlin engines, TCA
and BOAC fitted their planes wiyh crossover exhausts which
reduced exhaust noise somewhat.
In the 'Engine Modifications' section under
DAGO RED, mention is made of using the Merlin 622 which is
the 'transport engine' used by the NORTH STARS. In our project
we have 4 of these 622s to work on. Being a museum artifact,
this airplane will not fly again, but we are hopeful of getting
at least one engine in 'ground running' condition. Our dream
is to get all four engines in running shape, our luck in this
regard will depend on costs and our ability to raise the necessary
funds for replacement parts. The airplane flew into Rockliff
Airport in Ottawa in 1966 and has spent nearly 40 years in
the Great Canadian Outdoors as a bird haven! The airplane
was recently rolled into the new starage hangar where we can
work on it in shirtsleeves.
Indeed the 622 Merlins gave reliable sevice
as it enabled three airlines to initiate overseas services
in the postwar period and an air force to provide airlift
during the Korean war between Seattle and Japan. These Merlin
engines performed well, none of these airplanes had serious
problems due to engine failures, although occasionally one
would quit with the trip being completed on 3 engines or returned
to point of embarkation.
The 'Reno' article provided good insight into
Merlin engines and what could be done to greatly increase
their performance for the racing circuit.
Project North Star
Canada Aviation Museum, Ottawa, Canada