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Propeller Dynamics

Essential reading for model aircraft contest fliers. This is the only book on the market explaining propeller theory in non-mathematical terms. A rattling good read, I know, I wrote it.


Project North Star

Courtesy of Ted Devey, January 2006

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.

Ted Devey
Project North Star
Canada Aviation Museum, Ottawa, Canada

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