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The Hispano-Suiza 8 Aircraft Engine

The Hispano-Suiza 8 was the most important allied engine of WW1 powering over half the aircraft operated by the allies. It was a 90 V8 with a single overhead camshaft for each of it's four cylinder banks. A total in excess of 49,800 engines were produced, many licence built in allied countries during WW1 by companies like Mitsubishi in Japan, Wright-Martin in the USA and Wolseley in the UK. The Hispano-Suiza 8 had a power output of 140 hp (102 kW) at the beginning of WW1 but continuous development resulted in late variants reaching 300 hp (220 kW).

Hispano Suiza V8 aero-engine


At the outbreak of WW1 the need for cars diminished and the Spanish company Hispano-Suiza stopped producing cars and focused on aircraft engines, designer Marc Birkigt modifying his existing powerful V8 car engine for aircraft use, the prototype being tested at full power output for a 50 hour continuous run in February 1915 as the Hispano-Suiza 8A. To increase reliability beyond that of his car engine, Marc Birkigt had incorporated dual ignition systems including duplicate distributers, coils and spark plugs, a methodology still practiced today with modern aero engines. It is of note that the stove-enamelling on the cylinder blocks was not cosmetic, it was to counter the monobloc aluminium castings porosity, a classic case of design requirements exceeding the production capabilities of the time.

Aircraft that were powered by the Hispano-Suiza 8

Austin-Ball A.F.B.1Avia BH-21Avia BH-22
Bartel BM-5Bernard SIMB AB 10Blanchard Brd.1
Caudron C.59Caudron R.11Fokker D.X
Fokker S.IIIGourdou-Leseurre GL.21Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard
Nieuport 29S.E.5S.E.5a (Wolseley Viper)
Sopwith DolphinSopwith CuckooSPAD S.VII
Boeing NB-2AT-3Consolidated PT-1
Cox-Klemin TW-2Dayton-Wright TW-3Huff-Daland TW-5
Curtiss AT-4Vought VE-7Waco DSO
Yokosuka Ro-go Ko-gataHansa-Brandenburg W.29Mitsubishi 1MF
Mitsubishi 2MR  

Hispano-Suiza 8a Specifications:

  • Type: Liquid-cooled 90V8 SOHC piston engine

  • Bore: 120 mm (4.724 in)

  • Stroke: 130 mm (5.118 in)

  • Displacement: 11.76 L (717.8 in3)

  • Dry weight: 445 lb (202 kg)

  • Carburettor: Single Claudel or Zenith Carburettor

  • Power output: 150 hp (112 kW) at 1,700 rpm

  • Fuel consumption: 0.51 lb/(hph)

  • Oil consumption: 0.03 lb/(hph)


Hispano-Suiza 8 Aircraft Engine

Hispano-Suiza 8 Aircraft Engine

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