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Packard DR-980



The Packard DR-980 is an American nine-cylinder air-cooled aircraft diesel engine. First run in 1928 it was unpopular despite its economy and reliability due to the unpleasant nature of its diesel exhaust fumes and considerable vibration when running; approximately 100 were built at a unit cost of $4,025.

Designed by Captain Lionel Woolson and Professor Herman Dohner, the DR-980 made the first cross-country flight with a Diesel-powered aircraft in the United States when Woolson flew from Detroit to Langley Field in 1929, a distance of 700 miles (1,126 km) with a flight time of 6 hours and 40 minutes. On a later flight in a Stinson Detroiter from Detroit to Miami, the new engine showed its economy, the cost for fuel consumption being less than one cent a mile. This aircraft (complete with its engine) is preserved at the Golden Wings Flying Museum.

In 1930, the DR-980 passed its 50-hour certification test with a continuous rating of 225 hp (168 kW) at 1,950 rpm. Production of the DR-980 ceased following the death of Captain Woolson in an aviation accident in April 1930; his legacy was the award of the Collier Trophy in 1931 to the Packard Motor Car Company for its work with this type of engine.

On 28 May 1931, a Bellanca CH-300 fitted with a DR-980, piloted by Walter Edwin Lees and Frederick Brossy, set a record for staying aloft for 84 hours and 32 minutes without being refueled. This record was not broken until 55 years later by the Rutan Voyager.


Bellanca CH-200
Bellanca CH-300
Brunner-Winkle Bird
Buhl Airsedan
Ford Model 11
O-17 Courier
Stewart M-2
Stinson Detroiter
Verville Sport Trainer
Waco HSO and HTO


Type: 9-cylinder Diesel radial engine
Bore: 4 13/16 in (122.2 mm)
Stroke: 6 in (152.4 mm)
Displacement: 980 (16 lt)
Dry weight: 550 lb (227 kg)
Valvetrain: One valve per cylinder, overhead valve
Fuel type: Diesel oil
Cooling system: Air-cooled
Power output: 240 hp (179 kW) at 2,000 rpm
Specific power: 0.25 hp/ (11.2 kW/L)
Power-to-weight ratio: 0.44 hp/lb (0.8 kW/kg)









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