Wright R-3350 Cyclone 18

The Engine On Display

The description on the engine states:

"One of the biggest engines ever built, the Wright R3350 will go down in history as the power plant of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress - the aircraft that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end world War II.

This museum specimen ended its career in 1972 when it became unserviceable on a Lockheed Super Constellation belonging to the US NASA, flying between Geraldton and the satellite tracking station at Carnarvon.

Found at Perth Airport to be beyond economic repair, the engine was donated to the Air Force Association of W.A.

This R3350-93 is the turbo compound version in which exhaust gases drove a turbine attached to the crankshaft to raise its power output to nearly 3000hp.

Two such engines powered the Lockheed P2V Neptune "Truculent Turtle" which, flying from RAAF Base Pearce to Columber, Ohio, USA in September 1946, established a world long distance record of 18,090 km.

The Wright turbo compound engine made possible non-stop transatlantic passenger services. It was used on later models of the Super Consetllation and Douglas DC-7C passenger aircraft."

Type / History

Type 18-cylinder twin-row air-cooled radial engine
Manufacturer Curtiss-Wright Corporation
Introduced First run 1937, first operational flight 1943
Primary users USAF, Post-War Airlines


The R-3350's successful career, powering some of the most important military and civilian aircraft of its time, had a less than spectacular start - probably because it represented many advances at one time.

It was planned as an expansion of the R-1820, in principle using two rows of its cylinders. However, complications, including those of cooling the rear row of cylinders adequately, led to many engine failures. These issues were not resolved until well after its main installations, the B-29s, had entered service. However, once its reliability issues were resolved, the R-3350 became the preferred power plant for large aircraft after the war. It was used not only in the B-29 and its successor the B-50, but in military transports and civilian airliners, particularly the Boeing Stratocruiser, Douglas DC-7 and Lockheed Constellation / Super Constellation.

(R-3350-C18-BA)

Cubic capacity: 3347 cu.in (54.56 L)
Maximum power: 2,200 HP (1,640 kW)
Weight: 2,670 lb (1,212 kg)