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Long-Idle Warner Aircraft Engine Comes to Life

Ryan Engine
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The Warner Super-Scarab Radial 145 engine on EAA’s Ryan SCW sprang to life after 25 years on October 27.

October 29, 2009 — A rarity occurred this week at EAA’s Kermit Week’s Maintenance Hangar in Oshkosh as EAA’s Ryan SCW, strictly a display airplane at Pioneer Airport’s Ryan Hanger, had its engine started for the first time in about a quarter century. This is the prototype/Serial Number 1 of the aircraft, which was built in 1937, the first of 12 that were manufactured. The aircraft was receiving some recent TLC for continued display at Pioneer alongside its more famous Ryan facsimile, EAA’s Spirit of St. Louis flying replica.

“We kind of felt sorry for it,” said John Hopkins, EAA director of aircraft maintenance, “and we had some free time for our volunteers, so we decided to give the airplane a dose of re-preservation.” They polished metal, replaced cracked glass on the canopy, repacked and greased the wheel bearings, plus cleaned the engine, the plugs, removed and cleaned the oil tank, and flushed out the fuel system. Before long they figured its Warner Super-Scarab Radial 145 engine seemed viable, and it had a starter, so they decided to give it a try.

On Tuesday this week, it fired up successfully. “It is really nice to hear the bark of the Warner and see fresh oil flowing through its veins,” wrote Sean Elliott in an email that afternoon.

The airplane was donated to EAA by Morton Lester in 1978.  Read more about the aircraft’s fascinating history here.

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