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R-4360: Pratt & Whitney's Major Miracle Paperback – 14 Feb 2006

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Amazon.com: 19 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
A Labor of Love 25 Jun. 2006
By Jack Frost - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Reading this excellent book makes it apparent that Mr. White has a great interest in aircraft engines, especially the R-4360. He covers the subject well although I would have liked a little more insight into the development and manufacturing process (and maybe a little less on landing gear design). I flew about 800 hours behind these engines on the KC-97 and we referred to them simply as the "Corncob", a term of endearance from a pilot's viewpoint, but not so from his observation. It was a finely tuned machine and stood up well to the punishment we gave them in SAC Air Refueling operations. The illustrations are profuse, large and well detailed and the printing and paper content are excellent. If your intrest is radial aircraft engines, the book is a "must read".
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Radial engine lover's dream 5 July 2006
By Michael Reid - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been facinated with the R-4360 since I built a B-36 model while in grade school. I did get to see and hear one C-124 depart Lajes AB, Azores while in the USAF. What a sound!

This book has a wealth of photos, detailed diagrams and data concerning the applications of the various models of the 4360 and some info on the R-2800 and the R-3350. There are great photos of planes involved, both exterior and interior.

By the time I went on active duty, the turboprops had taken over and the sweet rumble of the big radials had been replaced by the awful scream of the kerosene burners. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who loves the round engines.

Michael Reid, DVM
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Graham White does it again! 5 July 2006
By Paul Kile - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After enjoying Graham White's prodigious tome on the P&W R-2800, I was pleased to see another volume released, this time on the R-4360. Mr. White must have access to a tremendous archive of information, because both these books provide a level of detail that can satisfy the most discerning aviation buff. He is also able to describe the various engine systems in a way that does not overwhelm the reader with technical minutiae, something most engineers would be incapable of doing.

About the only drawback of these books is their sheer weight. I can only read them for 20 minutes or so before my arms need a rest. I would also have liked to see a chapter or two on Mr. White's efforts at setting up these engines as running displays for air shows. Although not directly related to the history of the engine, to read about actually running one of these on a transport trailer would add a note of current realism to the picture.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The Definitive Story of Aviation's Biggest Round Engine 9 Nov. 2007
By Terry Sunday - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Graham White's monumental "R-4360: Pratt & Whitney's Major Miracle" is a comprehensive history of the largest, most powerful, most complex and most sophisticated aircraft piston engine ever built. The 28-cylinder, 3,500-horsepower-plus "Wasp Major" was truly the epitome of aircraft piston engine development. The big four-row radial pushed the engineering state-of-the-art in materials, cooling systems, ignition technology, manufacturing processes and many other areas. But, to the dismay of round-engine fans everywhere, it was also a dead-end. By the time P&W's famous "corncob" engine reached its full potential in the early 1950s, the new jet engines had taken both military and civilian aircraft markets by storm. There was no longer a need for big, heavy, noisy, temperamental piston engines.

This book is definitely not for everyone. If you are not of a technical persuasion, and if you don't enjoy poring over engineering drawings with literally nuts-and-bolts details of complicated pieces of machinery, then you should probably pass on this volume. If you're not interested in learning about the intricacies of intake and exhaust valve timing, turbosupercharger plumbing and carburetor design for this big radial engine, then you should probably look elsewhere for reading material. But if you are a confirmed technophile, and if incredibly detailed cutaway and exploded-view drawings make you salivate, then look no further--"R-4360: Pratt & Whitney's Major Miracle" is the book for you.

In addition to the R-4360's development history, Mr. White includes exhaustive descriptions of all the aircraft that used the engine--aircraft such as the Martin AM-1 "Mauler," the Convair B-36 "Peacemaker," the Northrop XB-35 "Flying Wing" and Howard Hughes' infamous "Hercules" seaplane, better known as the "Spruce Goose." The information is all here, sometimes in overwhelming detail. For example, there are 80 pages of specification sheets covering each and every version of the R-4360 ever designed or produced. With its hundreds of clear, sharp photographs and drawings, this book is a veritable gold mine of esoteric but interesting information.

It's big, it's thick, it's heavy, it's a little intimidating and it's not to be absorbed in a single sitting, but "R-4360: Pratt & Whitney's Major Miracle" is a valuable work of great significance and unique depth. I recommend it without reservation as the definitive chronicle of American aviation's largest, most powerful piston engine.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Major Work for a Major Engine 12 Jan. 2007
By David Hebb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Graham White's book on P&W's R-4360 is a fine and thorough study of one of the greatest aeronautical piston engines ever produced. If you are at all interested in the general subject of aircraft engines, or even engines generally, you should obtain a copy to read and enjoy studying and savoring it slowly over the months after you first go through it. The text is clear and it is well illustrated, all that a book on an aircraft engine should be. My only quibble, and it is a quibble, is that the down-draught inlet ports, a distinct feature of the R-4360, have a much longer history than Mr. White seems to indicate, having been used by BMW in sportscar engines in the 1930s and by Miller in racing engines even earlier; however, since these examples are drawn from outside his field of study, Mr White may be excused, and even were this not the case, the general quality of this work would win him praise not criticism.
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