Advance V4 Aero Engine

According to the article in the Cambridge Chronicle, the Advance engine used was 'specially designed'. The article also tells us that it was an air-cooled V Four. The photographs below show an Advance V Four Engine. It is almost certain that it is of the same design as the one used in the Oakington Monoplane, if not the very same engine. The photographs were taken by Grimmett at the Adnitt Studio, 142 Adnitt Road, Northampton.

Advance V4 Aero engine - Right Hand View

This design of engine was also used by Frederick Handley-Page in 1909/10 in his Type A monoplane, which was also known as 'Bluebird'. It has been reported that the engine was so popular that demand out stripped supply and Advance had to turn down some orders.

Advance V4 Aero engine - Front & Rear View

From the photographs we can tell that the engine was in fact two V twin engines, bolted together back to back. So one of the engines would have been running backwards. It is not known how the two crankshafts were joined. The carburettor is by Brown & Barlow, of which Advance were dealers. It is a type 65DU or GU which was 1 1/4" and of the type usually fitted to cars of the period. The carburettor feeds a 1 into 2 into 4 manifold. This type of manifold was used on the Oakington Monoplane, however the engine in the Handley Page plane used a 1 into 4 design.

Advance V4 Aero Engine installed in Handley Page's Type A (Bluebird)

Another plane to use the Advance aero engine was the 'Dixon Nipper No.1' which was built and designed by H.S.Dixon in 1911.

The Dixon Nipper with an Advance V4 engine installed

The Nipper was a single seater canard pusher monoplane. It was tested and finally wrecked in an accident at Acton. The span was 26ft, Length 20ft and Wing area was 210sq ft. The non-flying replica was probably more famous for being used in the sixties comedy film "Those magnificent men in their flying machines". In the film it was called 'The Little Tiddler'.

Finally the Hammond Monoplane, used a 30hp watercooled Advance V4 engine.The Hammond which was built at Brooklands during the summer of 1913, was a single seat tractor monoplane. It was designed and built by E V Hammond who had previously built and flown a biplane in 1910 and a triplane in 1911 at Brooklands. The Advance engine had been modified for the purpose, and the monoplane was built on a budget. The fuselage consisted of just a pair of steel tubes, set parallel to each other.

Advance did produce a standard V twin 9HP. Presumably it was tuned in some way, so when two were bolted together it would give an output of 20 HP. From Advance's 1907 engine catalogue we know that the 9HP engine was 90mm bore, 90mm stroke and the cylinders were at 50 degrees to each other. This would give a V twin a capacity of 1,145cc, and hence a V four would have a capacity of 2,290cc assuming that the bore or stroke had not been altered for the aero engine. Again from the engine catalogue we know the engine had automatic inlet valves of diameter 1 1/2 inches (38.1mm) and exhaust valve diameter of 1 9/16 inches (39.7mm) with exposed springs. The standard V twin engine weighed 89lbs (40.4 Kgs), was 20 inches (508mm) high and 15 1/2 inches 394mm) in length. The flywheel was 9 1/4 inches (235mm) in diameter and it weighed 36lbs (16.4Kgs). The crankcases were 11 1/4 inches (286mm) in diameter and 4 1/8 inches (105mm) wide. The main bearings were plain and threaded into the crankcases with a right hand thread on one side and a left hand thread on the other. Therefore the engine half that was running backwards in the V4, must have been specially built with the threads reversed, to stop the main bearings unscrewing with the rotation of the crank. We are told that the max RPM on the 9 H.P. would have been 1,500, but we know that the v4 aero engine revved to 1,800 RPM. Finally in 1907 a 9HP V twin engine would set you back 19!

Advance V4 Aero engine installed in the Oakington Monoplane

From the monoplane photograph it can be seen that no exhausts were fitted to the engine. The sound the plane made must have been incredible, and could well have been a contributory factor in the argument as to who was going to fly the plane. We do not know whether this design of engine was reliable, or whether the two halves moved under load. However we do know it was sufficiently successful enough to sustain short flights in the Handley Page Bluebird and the Dixon Nipper. No known examples of an Advance aero engine exist.

Oakington Plane