Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

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Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby DaytonaJohn » Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:49 am

Maybe this should go someplave else besides Mercury History, but since I got Charlie Strang involved with this mystery it should go here! HIs comments about gas turbine outboards is worth the price of admission !

St. Augustine Harley Davidson was sold a couple of years ago after being in business 60 years. Myrtle and Limey Hollingsworth opened up in 1946. In their shop above the toolboard was a jet engine. About 30 years ago I climbed a ladder to get up there to read the name tag and remembered Aeromarine. I knew there was some history in Myrtle's family about boat racing and they said years ago this jet engine was on a tripod and mounted in a boat. I wrote Charlie Strang and asked him about drone engines.

I wrote Mr. Strang:

Soon, I hope to send you some pictures of a Kiekhaefer Mercury gas turbine (?)  Maybe you could share any guesses you have about it. I believe it could have been a prototype engine.  It has been hanging on the wall of the original location of the St. Augustine Harley Davidson dealership 50 years ?  This is what I know about it. The Hollingsworth's, Myrtle and James "Limey", opened the dealership in 1946. Myrtle's brother was a US Army general (eventually), and he was a race boat guy.
Years ago I asked about this jet engine looking thing and they said the general had an idea to power a hydro or utility with it. Al Hollingsworth, the oldest son, said he remembers when it was started and they got scared of it. He said they had all the new spare parts to rebuild the fuel system which was the problem but that project was shelved. It has hung on their tool board ever since. I want to get up there and visit Myrtle and get some pictures of the rocket.


Mr. Strang wrote:

Dear John:
      Yes, in the late 1950s or early 1960s we had a project at Mercury to build a gas turbine outboard. The project was headed by Charlie Alexander.
       At that time everyone was pushing small turbines--- OMC had one in development too, as I learned after I joined them.
     Chrysler and Rover(England) were both developing small turbines for car use, as were others.
     None made it into production because of cost and fuel consumption.
      At the time I left Mercury we had designed and made prototype components but had not run a complete engine. The project was dropped sometime after I left.
      I would enjoy seeing the photos which you mentioned.
       Best regards,
                Chas Strang

Below are pictures i sent to him:
Attachments
Aeromarine Sep 11,2010 011.JPG
Nameplate Data
Aeromarine Sep 11,2010 012.JPG
side view
Aeromarine Sep 11,2010 013.JPG
Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine
Last edited by DaytonaJohn on Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
John Timmins, Ormond -by-the-Sea, Florida.  Retired licensed marine engineer from steamship companys under contract with the Marine Engineer's Beneficial Association, a union of merchant marine engineers since 1876. Ship your cargo on  U.S. flag ships !
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Re: Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby DaytonaJohn » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:09 am

Actually the pictures went with this letter:

Dear Mr. Strang;

I visited the shop that was Harley Davidson St. Augustine today. I had called the oldest son Al Hollingsworth to arrange this, and later his mother Myrtle Hollingsworth, age 83, showed up. She is still very savvy and somehow we ended up discussing the poor quality of the Columbia Par Car Tillotson carb fuel pump diaphragms. Columbia is the company that bought the golf car division of Harley-Davidson.

Myrtle's husband James (Limey) Hollingsworth met Myrtle's brother in the Navy in the early 1940s. Her brother Buck Moore later joined the Air Guard and was a General in the military; he was the pace plane pilot when Yeager broke the sound barrier the first time. I know he raced boats. Myrtle's other brother was Bobby Moore, a navigator in the Bahamas run race boats under the Kiekhaefer entry. I don't know Bobby's resume but Myrtle said he raced a lot.  There used to be a Jacksonville to Sanford Florida race on the St. John's river that he did.

A man who worked under Gen. Moore became a general himself, Gen. Mabry Edwards - MEMCO Marine at the old Imeson Airport in Jacksonville. I will send a different article Bernie Bergen sent me about Gen. Moore.

I was unable to learn HOW they got this jet engine, but Myrtle said it was mounted on a tripod and had been mounted in a boat at one time. My memory was close. It was in 1993 that I was last in that shop. I got the Aeromarine part right but not the Kiekhaefer Aeromarine.. The engine is about 4 feet long but it weighs only about 10-12 pounds. Al said he remembers attempts at starting this engine but everybody was scared of it.

Notice the serial number is #7. If you look closely you can see 2 very small spark plugs. Limey Hollingsworth, an aircraft mechanic in the Navy in Jacksonville in WW2, said the piston drone engines weren't fast enough and the jet drone engines were needed because the Japanese Zero was so fast. (?)

I thought I'd found a treasure of Mercury history...apparently not, but it's always a great time to explore that shop. Few people get to go back in the employees only part.

I wonder if Kiekhaefer bought this company out ? The name tag says:

Aeromarine Co.    D5-1  Pulse Jet Engine   Serial No. 7    Pat. Penn.    Aeromarine co.  Vidalla, Ohio

That's all I can tell you about today's adventure !

10-4 John Timmins

Mr. Strang's reply:

Dear John,

Thanks for the photos of the "jet engine".

This is not the true jet engine which was under development at Mercury---which incorporated a centrifugal blower and a gas turbine.  Instead the device shown is a pulse-jet, derived from the German V-1 pulse-jet guided missile used to bomb London in WWII.  It has no rotating parts and consists only of a tube with a set of inlet valves at the front end.  We tested one at NACA (now NASA) during WWII.  Noisy!

Bill Tenney, an old friend and competitor of mine in outboard racing, became familiar with the V-1 pulse-jet while in the U.S. Air Corps at Dayton Field, Ohio, during WWII.  After the war he started a company in Vidalia, Ohio---which he called "Aeromarine"---to make small pulse jets for model airplanes, for fogging agricultural areas, for possible drone aircraft, etc.  It lasted several years before folding.

Tenney's company, despite the Aeromarine name, had no connection whatsoever with Kiekhaefer---nor did Kiekhaefer mess around with pulse-jets.  Bill later became the U.S. distributor for British Anzani outboard racing engines.  Bill dropped dead some years ago in Siberia while fishing.  His son still races outboards and we spent some time together last month at the APBA Outboard Nationals in Depue, Illinois.

The device in the photos looks like one of Bill's products---and the nameplate bears this out.

Mabry Edwards was another great outboard racer and a good friend.  Better known as "Lum" because of the character named "Lum Edwards" in the then popular radio show, "Lum and Abner", Mabry drove outboard hydros for the late Joe Swift, builder of outboard hydros in Mount Dora, Florida.

He also did a bit of hydro driving for us at Mercury and eventually  some offshore racing with our engines.  I recall fixing up a Memco offshore boat with three MerCruiser engines in it for him to drive in one of the Miami-Nassau races.  He often flew to Oshkosh to visit us---in an Air National Guard plane!  At the time the Nikon F camera was first produced I wanted one but they were not yet available in the USA.  Lum brought me one from Tokyo on a military flight!  I still have it.

He passed away a couple of years ago.  A great guy---and a talented one!

Lastly, I remember Bobby Moore in our offshore boats---but not very well.

Best regards,

Charlie Strang


********************************************

So that's what I learned about the "rocket" I looked at 30 years ago. At least I got the Aeromarine part right.

Just for the record, all 5 Hollingsworth sons raced Harleys  Because of the other family members that raced boats, they got the idea to modify at least one Harley. It was assembled with Mercury roller bearings in the connecting rod to see if it could hold up at race speeds, 17:1 compression ratio, and shifting at 12000. The engines survived using the Mercury  parts and still hold track records set in 1968. In 2010 one bike came out of retirement and took the checker at Barber raceway in Alabama.
John Timmins, Ormond -by-the-Sea, Florida.  Retired licensed marine engineer from steamship companys under contract with the Marine Engineer's Beneficial Association, a union of merchant marine engineers since 1876. Ship your cargo on  U.S. flag ships !
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Re: Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby DaytonaJohn » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:18 am

Here are more comments Charlie Strang had to say about drone engines

Dear John,

One of my first tasks at Mercury was finishing the development of a V-4, 105 cubic inch, fuel-injected drone engine for the U.S. Navy.  We delivered quite a few of them in the early 1950s.

Prior to that engine, Mercury had manufactured several sizes of two-cylinder, opposed cylinder drone engines for the military.

We never built a jet engine for drone use.  All of our drone powerplants were two-cycle piston engines.

The V-105 was a narrow-angle, loop-scavenged, V-engine with "less than ideal" air-cooling fins---because the Navy spec required that the engine had to fit within an 18 inch (or was it 16 inch?  I forget) diameter tubular fuselage.

Our main competitor in the drone engine business was the McCulloch Corporation----better known for chain saws.  McCulloch built a flat-four drone engine with too much frontal area.

Sometime later Bill Tenney tried to build what might be called "jet" drone engines which were miniature versions of the "buzz bomb" developed by the Germans in WW II to deliver bombs to London during the Blitz.  Bill was fairly successful at selling small units for model aircraft and for lawn foggers but I don't recall that he sold many, if any, for military drone use.  Bill was a top-notch outboard racer in the 1940s to the 1970s, setting many records and winning quite a few National Championships.  He later became an ardent fisherman and dropped dead while fishing in a boat for some rare species in Siberia!

Best regards,

Charlie Strang
John Timmins, Ormond -by-the-Sea, Florida.  Retired licensed marine engineer from steamship companys under contract with the Marine Engineer's Beneficial Association, a union of merchant marine engineers since 1876. Ship your cargo on  U.S. flag ships !
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Re: Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby Sam Cullis » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:11 am

The Merc V-4 drone
Attachments
Merc V4 drone.jpg
Sam Cullis
 

Re: Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby Sam Cullis » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:13 am

Another:
Attachments
drone1.jpg
drone1.jpg (24.37 KiB) Viewed 4600 times
Sam Cullis
 

Re: Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby Sam Cullis » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:21 am

Apparently the KAM drone prototypes shook so badly they sometimes lost their injector throttle bodies (or other critical parts) before launch.  Charlie Alexander was sent to meet with the Army guys to see what could be done about it.  I suspect this is the origin of Mercury outboards' use of high friction and plastic locking nuts.
Sam Cullis
 

Re: Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby Fastjeff » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:30 pm

And fine threads all over the place!

Jeff
Words spoken in two stroke heaven: There's no fuel like an oiled fuel.
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Re: Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby A/B Speedliner » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:36 pm

The pulse jet engine was manufactured
Last edited by A/B Speedliner on Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby 76-J » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:15 pm

I owned a 2 (opposed) cylinder drone engine  having battery ignition, that Mr. Strang alluded to. I Still have a photograph of it, that I took ( pre-computer days)... subsequently it was advertised in AOMCI's newsletter,,,it was purchased and shipped to an un-named individual, employed by Boeing Aircraft, Seattle, Wa.

that pic was posted on this ( several versions earlier ) / John's Old Mercury site.... by this writer... if anyone snagged it-------------- paste / attach  / whatever
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Re: Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby Mikey » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:51 pm

A/B Speedliner wrote:The pulse jet engine was manufactured by the Aeromarine Co. of Vandalia, Ohio.  They developed this engine in early 1948 as Model D5-1.  it wieghed a little less then nine pounds but put out 30 pounds of thrust.  It ran on gasoline and was started with compressed air and a coil vibrator.  The first use was to mount it on a Bicycle on which it would push to 70 MPH.

I found in online search many companies call Aeromarine, they even include an airline based in Keyport, NJ and used flying boats left over from the Naval war effort.


I suppose this was to compete with the Whizzers?  :twisted:
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Re: Aeromarine Pulse Jet Engine

Postby airplane176 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:44 pm

I am primarily interested in aviation history, but sometimes things lead to unexpected directions.  I have been trying to find for some time, basic specifications (at least bore and stroke) for the Kiekhaefer V-105 drone engine for my website on U.S. Military Aircraft http://aircraft.list-of-domains.org/.  It powered the KD6G-2 target drone, later redesignated MQM-40A.  I have found two versions, XV-105-2 and V-105-2.

I have also been looking for any information on the Muncie XO-40-1 20 HP drone engine.  It appears to have been developed from a 2-cylinder horizontally-opposed outboard motor, but that is all I have.  It was probably never built.

Also, was the Aeromarine D5-1 engine ever tested by the U.S. Military?  Did it receive a number in the PJ series (PJ30, 34, 36, 38, 41, 43 to 45, 47, and 48 are so far unaccounted for)?

I would greatly appreciate any information.  Thank you.

Roger
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