Allison Aircraft Engines

A high-powered V-12 engine

The Bell P-39 Airacobra with Allison V12 power plant firing all weapons at night. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The advantage of an in-line, liquid-cooled engine was its power and reliability, and its ability to be mounted in a slim fuselage. ‘No wider than a pilot’s shoulders’ was the catchphrase.  

The Allison V-1710 V-12 engine design was extremely versatile, suiting many aircraft. A key feature  was its ability to turn the output shaft clockwise or counter-clockwise. In the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the two engines ran their drive shafts in opposite directions, creating this aircraft's legendary stability.

The Allison V-1710 was the mainstay of Allied Air Forces in all but the European theater of war. The engines proved to be robust and "little affected by machine-gun fire". In total, over 60 percent of the American pursuit aircraft operated during WWII were powered by the V-1710. 

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