Replica Wright Cyclone radial engine
This replica of a Wright Cyclone radial engine was made for the modern opera "Madeline Lee" designed by Brian Thomson. It was a complicated prop to build because of the realism required in the finished engine. The opera is based on the true story of a B-24D Liberator bomber called the "Lady Be Good" which failed to return from a mission to Italy in 1943. A search failed to find any trace of the plane.
The wreckage of the plane was discovered 15 years later in the Libyan Desert. It was another two years before the remains of all but one of the crew were discovered. The plane had run out of fuel and the crew had parachuted to safety. The plane had crashed 16 miles south of where the crew had safely landed.
The fascinating story of "The Lady be Good" is an exciting story. The fact that the body of the ninth crew member was never found is the plot for the opera "Madeline Lee".
The Wright Cyclone engine prop
Using reference photos of a Wright Cyclone radial engine found on the Internet David Wilson drafted a 3D drawing of the engine. DXF files were then drafted for each of the individual parts. These were laser cut and the parts assembled to make the prop replica of the Wright Cyclone radial engine.
Below (left) is the 3D CAD drawing used to make the prop engine. Parts were laser cut from the DXF files produced from this drawing. A picture also shows the 3D CAD rendering of one of the cylinder assemblies. These were made from rings of steel and MDF glued to PVC storm water pipe.
A completed cylinder with cylinder head. Details of making the cylinder head can be found here.
David putting finishing touches on the engine before it goes to the Scenic Artists for *distressing*.
Plane Flying On Stage
Scene of the B24D Liberator on its way to crashing during a stage rehearsal at the Sydney Opera House