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  • Writer's pictureShaun Lewis

W O Bentley's influence on early naval aviation

After WW1, Walter Owen Bentley established his own company manufacturing sporting cars, but during the war he was commissioned in the Royal Naval Air Service to investigate the poor reliability and short life of the RNAS's rotary engines. He visited the aircraft parks in France to speak to the men with the task of servicing the machines, from which he quickly

recognised a design fault in the French Gnome engine widely used by aircraft of the RNAS. Using his racing car experience, Bentley introduced aluminium piston rings and improved the engines' cooling. He later invented two new revolutionary engines for which he was awarded the MBE and £8,000 after the war.

I relate the early history of the Royal Naval Air Service in my five-star thriller, The Wings of the Wind.

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