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Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8 in Detail (Revisited)

Part 7 - BMW 801 Powerplant

n Text and photos by Martin Waligorski

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The BMW 801 engine sans propeller viewed from the front. This one resides in the London Science Museum. It  belonged to a Fw 190 and is preserved in pristine condition, down to the original German paint on the cowling.

The 12-blade fan can be seen to advantage.

As mentioned before, the front ring of the cowling was an oil collector ring manufactured in one piece from pressed armour plate.



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BMW produced these engines as complete units, with all accessories, exhaust piping, the cowling, fan and oil installation, ready to be bolted to the firewall attachment points of the aircraft. The resulting "power egg" made the engine very easy to replace, also under operational conditions. The idea was not unique for BMW: the British Bristol Hercules is another example of the same design philosophy.

The unit (including mounts) weighed around 1,250 kg and was 1.27 m in diameter, depending on the model.


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Removed starboard cowling panel provides a view of both cylinder rows.  The engine had two rows of seven cylinders each, the bore and stroke were both 156 mm, giving a total capacity of 41.8 litres. The engine generated between 1,550 and 2,000 hp depending on the version.

A painting detail worth noting is the rough finish of the grey mottling on the forward cowling, with plenty of spatter. The bulged panel at the bottom of the photo has been repainted fairly recently.


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The four exhaust pipes on the starboard side.


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The engine assembly viewed from behind. This photo shows the shape and colouring of all the accessories, plumbing and cabling.

What can't be easily seen among the accessories, however, is the
revolutionary Kommandogerät. This hydraulic-electric unit allowed the pilot to operate fuel flow, mixture strength, propeller pitch and ignition timing by a single throttle control, dramatically simplifying engine control. It also cut in a second stage of the supercharger at the correct altitude.


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The top cowling panel, seen here from behind, features two recesses to provide a clear line of fire from the fuselage-mounted guns. The presence of this panel is a proof that this engine had been attached to the Focke-Wulf fighter.



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The red-brow cylinder visible in this view is the oil filter.


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