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The Gnome Monosoupape Aircraft Engine

The brothers Laurenta and Louis Seguin owners of the Gnome Engine Company, designed the Monosoupape (single-valve) rotary engine in 1913. The Monosoupape aero-engine was a rotary engine (the crankshaft is fixed to the airframe and the cylinders turn with the propeller) of initiative design, by the clever use of internal passages and ports it required only a single valve in the head, the increased simplicity and reduced weight or the engine over it's contemporaries resulted in a lighter, more reliable, more efficient aero engine.

Gnome Monosoupape Aircraft Engine


For many of the years of early aviation it was the engine of choice, however the accuracy required to make and balance the Gnome Monosoupape resulted in a very expensive price tag. The ignition system of the Gnome Monosoupape was also totally unique and new, the spark plug had no high-voltage wires, instead an internal-tooth ring gear drove a stationary magneto mounted behind the engine, it relied on the magneto's output terminal being in close proximity to the spark plug terminals as they as they rotated past at exactly the correct time, this made the Ht wires, points and distributers found in other engines of the period redundant. Gnome Monosoupape engines were made with either seven or nine cylinders by both the Gnome Engine Company and numerous other licensed manufacturers.

Gnome Monosoupape 9 Type B-2 Specifications:

  • Type: Single-row 9-cylinder Direct drive right-hand tractor or left-hand pusher, rotary engine with a single overhead valve and piston porting

  • Bore: 110 mm (4.3 in)

  • Stroke: 150 mm (5.9 in)

  • Displacement: 12.8 L (781.63 cu in)

  • Length: 107.4 cm (42.3 in)

  • Diameter: 95 cm (37.4 in)

  • Dry weight: 137.4 kg (303 lb)

  • Fuel type: 40-50 Octane petrol

  • Lubrication: Castor oil total loss

  • Cooling system: Air-cooled

  • Maximum power output: 86 kW (115 hp) at 1,300 rpm

  • Compression ratio: 4.85:1


Aircraft powered by the Gnome Monosoupape

Airco DH.2Airco DH.5Alcock Scout
Avro 504Avro 511BAT Bantam
Blackburn ScoutBlackburn T.BBlackburn Triplane
Bristol-Coanda T.B.8Bristol-Coanda G.B.75Bristol Scout
F.B.A. C Flying boatNieuport 12Nieuport 28
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8Short S.70
Short S.80Short Type CSopwith Circuit Seaplane
Sopwith GunbusSopwith PupSopwith Tabloid
Sopwith SociableSopwith 807 SeaplaneSopwith Two-Seat Scout
Sopwith SchneiderSopwith PupSopwith F.1 Camel
Vickers Gunbus FB.2Vickers Gunbus FB.3Vickers Gunbus FB.5
Vickers Gunbus FB.6Vickers Gunbus FB.7Vickers E.S.1 Bullet
Vickers F.B.12Vickers F.B 19 Bullet 

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