Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Radial Engine

Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp 28 cylinder radial engine

Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp 28 cylinder radial engine

Since we've seen so many radial engines here on The Kneeslider, the Rotec radials used in the bikes by Jesse James and JRL Cycles, plus the radial being built by Russell Sutton, I thought it might be worth mentioning the Pratt & Whitney R-4360, a 28 cylinder radial built in 4 banks of 7, each slightly offset for cooling purposes. The first version had an output of about 3000 horsepower but the last supercharged AND twin turbocharged version had about 4300 horsepower. This was pretty much the end of the line for radial development before jets took over but what an engine!

A bit too late for duty in WWII, it was used in quite a few later well known planes, including the C-119 Flying Boxcar, the C-124 Globemaster, the 6 prop engine plus 4 jet engine B-36 and Howard Hughes' famous Spruce Goose.

I saw one for sale on eBay and just thought it was worth bringing to your attention. There are quite a few pilots among our readers but any motorhead has to appreciate what a thing of beauty this engine is.

Link: auction has ended


  1. Paul B says

    For anyone in the San Diego, CA area; there are a number of radials on display at the Air & Space Museum located at Balboa Park. They have a rotating cutaway of a radial that was worth the cost of admission for this gearhead.

  2. says

    I remember reading somewhere that full overhauls on the next model down in the Wasp line cost around a quarter of a million dollars each these days. If this guy’s reserve is anything less than half a million, that engine is a tremendous bargain. Running Wasp Majors are damn near impossible to find now.


    • Garnet Smith says

      Hi Chris.

      I have come accross a tool chest containing pullers, seal removers, reamers etc. for the Wasp Radial Engine. The tool chest has a list of its contents on the inside lid and is manufactured by Pratt & Whitney. I am guessing this would be around the WW2 era and all the tools seem in reasonable to good shape.

      My question is I would like to sell it, however I would also like to see it go to someone who can make good use of it.

      Can you offer any advise, as I know nothing about this topic other than what I have read online. Thank you in advance,

      Vancouver, B.C.

  3. says

    This makes you stop and really contemplate what can be done when people are focused on a task.

    All of those moving parts (large and small) working together reliably enough that people confidently took to the air is a true testament to the skill of part suppliers, engineers & mechanics

  4. cak says

    This monster was also found on the Chance-Vought F4G Corsair (the G stands for Goodyear).

  5. drduc says

    They all went away with the demise of 130 octane avgas. It took 40 gallons of 130 octane to taxi an F2G to the end of the runway and do a full power check. If you opened the throttle suddenly it could flip the plane on it’s back from the torque.
    I remember one sitting forlorn on a grass strip outside Ft Pierce,Fla in 1969.

  6. says

    Hey Paul B, thanks for recommending the San Diego Air & Space Museum and glad you enjoyed our cutaway. We actually have 6 radial engines on display, 2 of which are Pratt & Whitney. We have other radial engines but they are in our basement and at our Gillespie Field Annex.

  7. rafe03 says

    Ah! The beauty of modular construction & desparate immagination! Better than the 5 X Dodge flathead 6 that powered some Shermans!


  8. says

    There is a 42 (!) cylinder Wright engine on display at the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum in Teterboro, NJ. There were three made…6 rows of seven!
    Way cool stuff….

  9. Don Bee says

    Kenny of 3/18/09: re: “throwing a rod” Somewhere in the back of my mind I THINK I recall reading something about “that was the beauty of radials — if they threw a rod or cracked a cylinder, they just kept on turning. Not so w/ the in-line fighter plane engines. In combat the radials could take more flak/bullet punishment.” I’m sure there are still some WWII P-47 and P-51 engine mechanics that could comment on the validity of my memory.

  10. A1C ZANE SHERMAN says

    I was trained for radial engine mechanic at Shephard AFB in Witichata Falls TX in 1955. Five months of nothing but radial engine hands on training on radial engines.

    I spent the rest of my three years at Alexandria LA’s England AFB as a mechanic first on the KB 29 with 18 cylinders and 3350 CI and later on the KB 50 with the 28 cylinder 4360 CI engine. Both are Pratt and Whitney.
    I did every kind of repair and maintenence on both engines and in the last year there was in the engine build up shop where the basic engine came in an air tight vacuum sealed cannister that we unbolted and removed the engine from and then added all the accessories and components. Wireing and fuel. Everything electrical or fuel related and of course the exhaust and turbo chargers etc.

    I have flown in these planes many times and I can tell you it’s an experiance. A scary one! Especially when you know that everything on the engines you put together.

    I am still a mechanic but not on avaition machines. Everything else I have fixed over the years and still do every day. I’m 74 years old now and not quiet as vigerous as I once was but can still fix stuff that everybody else has given up on. My AF training has served me well.


  11. mica says

    I noticed someone mention WWII era P & W 4360 radial engines, off F4U corsair, Spruce Goose, etc. I have 9 complete engine assemblies off boeing kc-97 for sale, along with conex full of spares….Make offer for one, or whole lot. No offer too small to consider. mica 907 260 3422

  12. Garnet Smith says

    I have read all the comments, and despite knowing next to nothing on the Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engine I think perhaps someone on this forum may be able to help me.
    I came across and purchased an old chest containing tools required for an engine overhaul of the Pratt & Whitney WW2 era Wasp (I believe) radial engine. On the inside of the lid there is a list of the contents (pullers, seal removers, reamers etc.) and for the most part the contents seem complete and in reasonable to good condition.
    I would be interested in any input you folks may have. The ultimate goal for me is to sell this tool set and chest, however I feel it would and should go to someone that would benefit from it. I am guessing these tools are rare and hard to find.
    Thanks, Garnet. Vancouver, B.C. Canada.