30-Liter Russian Radial Engine Starts Up at Tractor Show in Germany

30-Liter Russian Radial Engine Starts Up at Tractor Show in Germany 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
One of the highlights of the annual tractor show in Burkhardtsdorf, is an amazing radial engine mounted on the back of a trailer.
Now, we don't often get to talk about these amazing star-shaped engines, so this is a rare treat we plan to relish. The 30-liter monster you see here came out of an old Antonov aircraft, the video description says. We don't know which one that is, but we expect it's the AN-2, which was a biplane often used as a crop duster (hence the connection to tractors).

Burkhardtsdorf is a municipality in the district Erzgebirgskreis, in Saxony, Germany. Their truck show has some pretty amazing stuff in it, including some of the first pieces of agricultural equipment, which was powered by steam.

Radial engines are thus called because they have all their pistons arranged concentrically and connected to a single crankshaft, which feeds directly into the propeller. One famous characteristic they have is that they make a lot of smoke. Oil builds up in the lower pistons overnight and produces lots of white smoke when burned.

Where's the radiator?

The engineer has a tough time starting the radial engine because it was very cool and damp that morning, not ideal circumstances to start a plane. As the Antonov mill finally coughs its way into life, we discover a very interesting fact: there's no radiator. Just like a motorcycle engine, it's cooled directly by the air. Normally, the propeller blades would push air back to stop the engine from overheating while the aircraft is stationary. That's why this display unit is only allowed to run for a short wile because it runs the risk of overheating.

Here's a couple of fun facts for you: between 1947 and 2002, over 18,000 examples of the Antonov AN-2 were built. There was a factory in East Germany that frequently refurbished these engines, which is why there are still people around who know how to take care of one.

The 1000 horsepower nine-cylinder unit is called Shvetsov ASh-62 and was based on the Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9, the same engine that powered the B-17 Flying Fortress that flew so many sorties over Nazi Germany during the war. The Russian version is said to use 43 gallons (162 liters) of aviation gasoline per hour.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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