curlyheadboy
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Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:04 pm

I was on a night flight on an A320 last July, we were at around FL350 between Greece and northern Africa, it was a moonless night. I had a window seat in a position that allowed me to have a sight of the port engine outlet and I was staring at a beautiful Milky Way sight, when I noticed a dim glowing band, apparently coming from the engine rear and fading, it was sort of a dim azure, I looked carefully and I'm almost sure it was the exhaust gases glowing. Since I'm not 100% sure, i'm asking if someone of you guys can confirm that what I saw is actually the exhaust flow glowing (BTW, I didn't drink any alchool on that flight, lol!) and, if true, can explain the physics behind this sight... does it glow because the gases are so-damn-hot or there is some other reason? Does it always glow and I noticed only because it was dark enough?
Thanks  Smile
If God had wanted men to fly he would have given them more money...
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:14 pm

If its very Dark outside,One can def notice the Exhaust heat glow depending on Location of View.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
JHSfan
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:10 pm

On this British company page you can find two infrared pictures of airliners - both with the engines running. Hot only does it reveal the heat from the engines, but the landing gear appears also to be very hot.
Although the pictures displays infrared radiation, invisible to our eyes, it tells where to look for a glow if the plane is being watched in darkness. My guess is that we should only be able to see the engine glow. If you can see the landing gear glowing it may be too hot.  hot 

Yours in realtime
JHSfan
Look at me, I´m riding high, I´m the airbornmaster of the sky...
 
curlyheadboy
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:16 pm

Thanks JHSfan, those pictures are amazing, looks like the bypass air is hot as well, cool.
If God had wanted men to fly he would have given them more money...
 
vc10
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:05 am

Now if you want to see exhausts glowing take a ride on an old piston powered airliner  old 


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timz
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:11 am

You remember how that Hardy book mentions exhaust flames trailing back over the top of the wing-- I guess it was only Turbocompounds that had an exhaust near the top of the nacelle?
 
vc10
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:16 am

The picture is for a 3350 non compound and yes due to the different exhaust layout on the compound the flaming exhaust would stream over the top of the wing.

Now adays passengers would sue if they saw flames but I think in those days they thought it was all part of the thrill of flying

littlevc10
 
johnclipper
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:25 am

I've seen the same glow on Mesaba Avro/BAe 146s. It's a cool effect.
"Flown every aircraft since the Wright Flyer" (guys, if you take this literally, then you need to get a life...)
 
N231YE
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:55 am

Quoting Timz (Reply 5):
You remember how that Hardy book mentions exhaust flames trailing back over the top of the wing-- I guess it was only Turbocompounds that had an exhaust near the top of the nacelle?

What exactly caused the flames in old piston engines? I'm guessing the fuel mixture was still combusting as the piston was forcing it out of the cylinder in the exhaust stage...but that is, my guess.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 2:23 am

Quoting N231YE (Reply 8):

What exactly caused the flames in old piston engines? I'm guessing the fuel mixture was still combusting as the piston was forcing it out of the cylinder in the exhaust stage...but that is, my guess.

Correct  Wink

If you look at rally cars, they often have lots of combustion in the exhaust manifold . More power but wears out the engine a lot.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
A342
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 3:32 am

Quoting JHSfan (Reply 2):
but the landing gear appears also to be very hot.

From what I can see, it's only the tyres. Not unusual if you think about it. At those speeds and with the weight on those tyres at takeoff, they will heat up a bit, of course.
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 4:25 am

Quoting JHSfan (Reply 2):
If you can see the landing gear glowing it may be too hot

You mean Tires Glowing.  Smile
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
N231YE
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 4:30 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):

Man I'm so good... wink  (just kidding)

Anyways, thanks for the clarification


Hey, did anyone forget to mention, if you look inside the cowl flaps of the near engine, is that the exhaust manifold glowing?!?

 
A342
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 5:04 am

Quoting N231YE (Reply 12):
Hey, did anyone forget to mention, if you look inside the cowl flaps of the near engine, is that the exhaust manifold glowing?!?

Probably you're right again !

It seems those engines don't have any mufflers !
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 6:11 am

As I recall, there is a reason why having some combustion in the exhaust manifold of a piston engine increases power. Some device is used in rally cars to achieve the effect.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
vc10
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 7:16 am

Quoting N231YE (Reply 12):
Hey, did anyone forget to mention, if you look inside the cowl flaps of the near engine, is that the exhaust manifold glowing?!?

The glow inside the cowl flaps is indeed the ring exhaust glowing, and there was definately no mufflers in the system as they would reduce the engines power

The exhaust on the picture shown were jet exhaust so as to recover some power from the exhaust , but how much is a doubtful matter, but in those days every bit helped.

The engines with Power Recovery Turbines [PRT] fitted used the power in the exhaust to drive a turbine which helped drive the engines crankshaft.
At Take-off power the 3 turbines per engines would recover between them about 600HP and add this too the crankshaft. However the PRT were remembered more for their tendancy to blow an oil seal and suck the engines oil system empty and blow it out through the exhaust.

littlevc10
 
MissedApproach
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:18 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
As I recall, there is a reason why having some combustion in the exhaust manifold of a piston engine increases power. Some device is used in rally cars to achieve the effect.

The fuel detonated in rally car exhaust systems is meant to keep the turbocharger spooling when the throttle is closed, in order to reduce turbo lag. The only other thing I can say about the exhaust manifold is that exhaust stream velocity is probably more important than reducing back-pressure. Back-pressure is never desirable, but good exhaust stream velocity produces a scavenging effect in the combustion chamber- when the exhaust & intake valves are open (valve overlap), the velocity of gases leaving the exhaust helps pull burnt fuel out of the combustion chamber & increases engine efficiency.
Can you hear me now?
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:59 am

That's the one. Thx MissedApproach!
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
411A
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 10:50 am

The photo is labeled Connie 749.

If it is indeed a 749 Constellation, then the engines are not CurtisWright turbocompound models.
My only expereince flying the Constellation, was the 1649A model, which absolutely did had the turbocompound series fitted.
The power recovery turbines (3) provided extra BHP directly to the crankshaft, through fluid couplings.
A unique hi-bred design, not without its problems.
The 1649 cruised at at honest 310 knots TAS, consumed 400 gallons of 115/145 avgas per hour, and if it did not run out of oil first, was cabable of 23 hour non-stop flights.
My personal record was 16:30, TPE-HNL.
 
bri2k1
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:15 pm

Quoting 411A (Reply 18):
The photo is labeled Connie 749.

If it is indeed a 749 Constellation, then the engines are not CurtisWright turbocompound models.

I think the answer's in there somewhere

Quoting VC10 (Reply 6):
The picture is for a 3350 non compound

Fascinating thread. I feel like I should be able to see a glow on lower bypass engines like the JT8D, but I've never seen it.
Position and hold
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 2:42 pm

Keep in mind folks, when looking at pictures, some cameras, specially ones with early generation CCD chips, have a tendency to exagerate the glow of hot objects to the point that they make infrared wavelengths visible.

An interesting experiment is to grab an infrared remote controller (a.k.a. your tv's remote) and point it at a digital or video camera. Press any button and you should see the infrared light coming out of the remote through the camera's viewfinder.
 
vc10
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 7:07 pm

Quoting 411A (Reply 18):
The photo is labeled Connie 749.

The aircraft to be exact is a C121A which in civil version is the 749A and if you read reply 6 you will see that I say there that they are non compound engines.

In fact the 3350 engine fitted to the Connie 1049 was the first Connie to have PRT engines producing anything above 3150 HP each compared to the 749 non compound engines which produced 2500HP each,

Just for interest the engines in the picture are running either at Meto or climb power but in either case the mixture would be at fully rich setting, which overfuels the engine, the excess fuel being used for cooling and not burnt in the engine. When the mixture is vented through the exhaust valve this hot unburnt fuel comes in contact with fresh oxygen and ignites and thus the flame.

any way be happy littlevc10
 
oly720man
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 11:29 pm

It's not the exhaust glowing it's the engine itself. For gas to glow it needs to be rather hotter than an engine will generate.

When I was in Malaysia years ago the B747 engine tailpipes were visibly red on take off... hot, humid, max thrust, high temperatures
wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
 
curlyheadboy
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sat Aug 19, 2006 11:50 pm

Quoting Oly720man (Reply 22):
It's not the exhaust glowing it's the engine itself. For gas to glow it needs to be rather hotter than an engine will generate.

I'm sure the engines left a dim glowing trail behind them, i could see the tailpipe and it wasn't red. This is the first time I ever noticed such a thing on a flight, that's why I was asking about it... could it be something like gas ionization, something like northern light...?
If God had wanted men to fly he would have given them more money...
 
bri2k1
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:07 am

If it was that dark, how can you be sure the ring was gases and not a metal part of the engine? I agree with Oly720man in principle that the engine would have to be red hot for a long time before the gases themselves would start to glow after the nozzle.
Position and hold
 
A342
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 4:13 am

Quoting VC10 (Reply 15):
The engines with Power Recovery Turbines [PRT] fitted used the power in the exhaust to drive a turbine which helped drive the engines crankshaft.

The engines also had superchargers. But why wasn't a turbocharger used, instead of those 2 complex systems ?
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:42 am

Quoting VC10 (Reply 4):

Wish that was a bigger photo. That is so cool!

I remember riding on Martin 404s at Southern Airways and seeing not only the exhaust manifold glowing but even the cylinder head around the exhaust port being dark cherry red. The exhaust would actually light up the cabin ceiling on takeoff.

And yes, I think that would be very disturbing to today's passenger.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
N231YE
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:48 am

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 20):
An interesting experiment is to grab an infrared remote controller (a.k.a. your tv's remote) and point it at a digital or video camera. Press any button and you should see the infrared light coming out of the remote through the camera's viewfinder.

I've noticed that too, its kind of interesting.
 
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Siren
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:11 am

This might be slightly off topic - however, I read that during the British Airways 009 incident in 1982 that the engines started glowing. I'm not sure what the exact mechanism was related to that, however if I'm remembering correctly, the glow was shining forwards through the first stage, as well as though the exhaust, though I might be wrong... something to do with the volcanic ash melting on the compressor?
 
vc10
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:36 am

Quoting A342 (Reply 25):
The engines also had superchargers. But why wasn't a turbocharger used, instead of those 2 complex systems

I am not sure I understand your question[ age you know], but the original 3350 engine was designed with a single stage two speed supercherger, which once they overcome it's tendency to set the engine on fire, became a reliable, easy to use system. This same system was used throughout the engines developement life, and provided all the boost pressure that the engine could take.

The demand for extra power had to obtained from some where, and the PRT by recovering the otherwise wasted energy in the exhaust manged to provide this extra power, not by running a turbocharger , but by turning it directly into HP on the crankshaft.

Hope this helps

littlevc10
 
411A
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:43 am

One civil airplane that I flew used both a supercharger and a turbocharger, and that was the Boeing Stratocruiser.
A single speed blower (supercharger) combined with a quite large General Electric turbosupercharger provided excellent high altitude capability, without all the complications of power recovery turbines.
Of course, it used more fuel than the turbocompound CurtisWright engines, but tended to be (just slightly) more reliable.
Oil?
Yep, consumeed quite a lot as well.
One gallon/hr/engine was about normal, in my experience.
If you are ever in the San Francisco area, a visit to the Hiller museum at the San Carlos airport will provide an excellent cut-away operating model of the P&W R4360 engine, used on the B377 Stratocruiser.
It was VERY smooth in normal operation, almost turbine-like.
 
2H4
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 9:13 am




Quoting 411A (Reply 30):
combined with a quite large General Electric turbosupercharger

Silly question, perhaps, but did those engines exhibit characteristics similar to turbo lag in turbocharged cars......that is, delayed power delivery while the impellers spool up and boost builds?




2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 9:29 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 31):

Quoting 411A (Reply 30):
combined with a quite large General Electric turbosupercharger

Silly question, perhaps, but did those engines exhibit characteristics similar to turbo lag in turbocharged cars......that is, delayed power delivery while the impellers spool up and boost builds?

Interesting question indeed.

First of all, there is a difference between a turbocharger and a supercharger. A supercharger needs no time to spool up like a turbocharger since it's not dependent on exhaust gas.

If I may, as usual, hazard a guess, it's that any lag is less relevant since power demand doesn't vary as much or as quickly as in a car. That is, the throttles aren't moved as often as the gas pedal in a car.

Turbo lag also depends a lot on the design of the turbo and engine. If your goal is high maximum power, this will be in a limited RPM range. The turbo needs to be larger, and it will typically spool up slower. If the goal is more power over the entire revolution range, lag tends to be less prominent since a smaller turbo can be used. There are also solutions with multiple turbos, in sequence or in parallel. Two smaller turbos exhibit less lag than one large one.


This whole lag thing brought me back to:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):

If you look at rally cars, they often have lots of combustion in the exhaust manifold .

There is a device called Anti-Lag (AKA "Bang-Bang") which retards spark firing to the point that most of the combustion is in the manifold. This means more mass to the turbo and thus less lag.


Ok waaaaaaay off on a tangent.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
411A
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:22 am

To answer your question, 2H4, no, turbo 'lag' was not a problem, as the throttles on geared radial engines are moved slowly and carefully, least the reduction gearcase comes apart....which was never a good scenario.
 
A342
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:59 am

Quoting VC10 (Reply 29):
The demand for extra power had to obtained from some where, and the PRT by recovering the otherwise wasted energy in the exhaust manged to provide this extra power, not by running a turbocharger , but by turning it directly into HP on the crankshaft.

Well, that's what I don't understand. First, you use PRTs with their complex couplings to recover the energy from the exhaust gases, and put the power on the crankshaft. Then, the supercharger takes away the power from the crankshaft, in order to boost the engine.

This idea cannot be described as brilliant, when you could have a turbocharger DIRECTLY using the exhaust energy to boost the engine.



Aircraft engines almost run at speeds where a turbocharger can provide efficient boost. The only exception would be descent and landing. In case of a missed approach, the low rpm could be a problem, because the turbocharger needs time to spool up and power may not be readily available for a go-around.
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
2H4
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:10 am



Thanks for the input, 411A.

Quoting A342 (Reply 34):
In case of a missed approach, the low rpm could be a problem

But didn't those classic props (Connie, DC-7, etc) commonly require fairly high power settings on final approach to maintain speed in their dirty configurations?




2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
A342
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:23 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 35):
But didn't those classic props (Connie, DC-7, etc) commonly require fairly high power settings on final approach to maintain speed in their dirty configurations?

Could be true, I don't know. I was born WELL after most examples were phased out !  Smile
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
vc10
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 4:39 am

A342

Now why Wright chose to fit a supercharger rather than a turbocharger when they designed the original 3350 engine in the late 1930s is unknown to me however both systems have their pros and cons.

I suspect that more was known about how to build superchargers at that time, and that perhaps the highly specialised materials required in the turbine of a T/charger was not available. As you have stated S/Chargers do extract power from the engine but they supply a lot more than they take, and even a T/Charger does not run for free

It might also have something to do with the fact that Wrights produced their own superchargers, whereas T/chargers would have to be bought in from G/E

From reply #30 you can see that on the P&W 4360 they had both a single speed supercharger and T/Chargers [ which were probably fitted to assist with high level cruise performance where a turbo charger is more efficient.] so having two systems was not unique.

Perhaps in the the late 1940s Wrights wished they had used T/blowers to start with, but sometimes you have to make the most of what you have got and the PRTs allowed the basic proven engine to used and yet another 600HP extracted from it, where as to change the type of blower at that stage would have been a radical redesign of the engine with all the unknowns that it would entail.

To sum up the answer is I do not know why, only that it was quite a good engine and it's high use of oil was not an accident, but meant as an anti corrosian system for the airframe to which the engine was fitted  biggrin 
well that is what I told everybody.

littlevc10
 
Dufo
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:27 am

I have seen this on both A340 and L-410, sitting in the back..
I seriously think I just creamed my pants without any influence from any outside variables.
 
411A
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:45 am

The primary reason turbosuperchargers were not used to better advantage in years gone by was actually quite simple.
The types of material used in the turbines, did not especially lend themselves to long life.

Whereas, as nearly all radial engines had superchargers (blowers) already, their use was guaranteed to be trouble free.
In addition, most radial piston engines used a pressure carburetor, and the blower (and equal length intake runners) assured a superb mixture distribution.

When the CurtisWright turbocompound series were introduced, direct fuel injection was used, but this certainly was not without its own unique set of problems, IE, providing an adequate fuel flow (and mixture) balance between the front and rear rows of cylinders.
This was a very big headache, initially, due to the fuel injection pump design.

Power on approach.

With flaps extended to the landing position, not all that much power was required on DC6/7 or Constellation aircraft, quite unlike a jet transport.
In addition, and this might come as a big surprise to many light aircraft twin owners, the prop RPM was not advanced on final until very late (crossing the threshold) because....to do so earlier resulted in accelerated master rod bearing wear, which required engine removal to repair.
This was not cheap, by any means.

Go around necessary?
That is what the Flight Engineer was for...he toggled (yes, using electric switches, controlling step head motors) the props forward, as required.

An ideal arrangement.
 
JHSfan
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:01 am

Quoting A342 (Reply 10):



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 11):

You are both right about that.

- JHSfan
Look at me, I´m riding high, I´m the airbornmaster of the sky...
 
sovietjet
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:05 pm

I have a video of an Il-62 taking off at night where you can clearly see all four engines glowing orange. It's part of a bigger movie but if anybody wants to see it I will edit the takeoff and upload it somewhere.
 
777wt
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:13 am

Yes they do glow, and if you're lucky, you can see it.

Here's one that has been shown here on Anet before but I can't locate the original for credits.

http://picsorban.com/upload/img_4487.jpg
 
ImperialEagle
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RE: Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night?

Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:20 am

Quoting VC10 (Reply 4):
Now if you want to see exhausts glowing take a ride on an old piston powered airliner

Thats the truth!

I used to love to get the starboard side window next to those big Wrights when flying on the old DC-7's.

The way the exhausts were set up, if you view the engine from the rear, there were two (upper and lower) exhausts on the left side, one (lower) on the right.

So sitting up by the left side of the engines gave one a great view. (This would also apply to the 1049's and 1649's).

Daytime engine starts were interesting enough----tons of blue smoke with a fireball shooting out of the exhaust on ignition. A miss fire might see the engine stop and the exhaust fire continue. The guys on the ramps with the HUGE fire-bottles on wheels had to be quick! Too much SUPER high octane.
Backfires were plentiful too, with huge explosive Bangs and much fire and smoke. Even better after dark!

At night, the engine start could get real spectacular with fire blowing right in your face as you stared out the window! On take-off you could look back and see the fire trail back towards the rear of the wing.

It was also fun to see the fires change colour as the mixture was adjusted for different stages of the flight.

Oh yeah, be sure and put that cigarette out for take-off and landing-----------------

In the old days, the word was---if you DIDN'T see fire---you were in trouble!
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"

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