Steam aircraft – the sequel

Posted by jerry on August 26th, 2006 — Posted in History, Journal, Steam, Technology

Well the plane may be long gone, but it appears that the Besler aircraft engine has survived, and may be seen either at the Warner Robins Air Force Museum in Warner Robins, Georgia USA, or at the Savannah Science Museum (from where it was loaned). This came from the Tiny Power website – makers of model and marine steam engines. Tiny Power has now started making scale model replicas of the aircraft engine. Their site has versions of the following two photos. (I’ve tinkered to make them more legible). According to the museum sign, the engine is a three cylinder single-acting radial design, putting out 70HP at 300PSI steam pressure. Bore and stroke: 3.125″ x 4.125″, displacing 165.38 inches and the whole unit weighed 100lb including pumps and propellor.

besler steam aircraft engine

And here is the engine itself…

Besler steam aircraft engine

There is a picture of the original twin cylinder engine here at



Comment by chris

this is not the besler engine that flew in oakland, it was 150 hp 2 cyl.

it can be seen here:

Posted on October 31, 2006 at 5:13 pm

Comment by jerry

Thanks Chris – you are of course correct 🙂

And the site shows the differences between the engines quite clearly. Thanks again


Posted on October 31, 2006 at 8:48 pm

Comment by Jean Vezina

The original 1933 Besler engine has
not survived. It was sold to Japan
in 1937. Nobody knows what occured
to it. The Travel-Air airplane also
had not survived. It was destroyed
in a windstorm by the end of the
thirties or early forties.

A replica of the Besler engine is in
exhibition at the Smithsonian National
Air and Space Museum. It was built
by Besler using parts of a second
airplane engine built in 1956-58. This
one was bench-tested but had never


P.S. I put a link to another article
about the Besler airplane

Posted on January 9, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Comment by Doug Juergens

Does anyone know what became of the Besler steam engine once it was sold to Japan?

Posted on January 20, 2009 at 3:08 am

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Posted on May 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm

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