Steam aircraft

Posted by jerry on August 25th, 2006 — Posted in History, Steam, Technology

I wonder what ever became of the Besler steam powered aircraft that reportedly flew in 1933?

The aircraft used a 150 HP V-twin engine and a steam plant designed by Nathan Price, a former employee of the Doble motor company (of the car maker fame). I believe it was designed as a test-bed to prove a concept of a light but powerful steam plant with potential automotive applications.

Presumably the aircraft itself was either scrapped during WW2 or perhaps it found its way into a collection somewhere. It would be nice to think this aircraft might have survived somewhere.

It was first flown on 12 April 1933 – the aircraft being a Travel Air 2000 biplane. It was reportedly so quiet that at low altitude the pilot could exchange words with people on the ground.
William Besler next to the steam plane

Besler steam aircraft in flight

And there is some movie footage on YouTube – there is a segment after a demo of the Doble steam car, showing the aircraft taking off, flying and landing.


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