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Old 08-22-2019, 03:33 AM   #1
cozzy71
 
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Default SE5 Four bladed propeller

Hello

I have just come into possession of a four bladed propeller that I believe is from Royal Aircraft Factory SE5. It was a lot of markings on it but no paperwork.

My Father, the current owner, was left this in a will by a lady living in West Glamorgan in around the mid to late 1970s.

The propeller has the following markings
On the top side of the hub
F 3340
D 2360
200 H.P.
Hispano Suiza

90 degrees to the left is
S E 5
DRG Z(?) 28098

around the outside (or inside) of the hub

G341N19 stamped in twice opposite each other and four small square stamps above one of them.

I would dearly love to know anything about the origins of this propellor. I have been tasked also with selling it, though I have no idea of its worth or where to try and sell it.

Any information would be very much appreciated. I will be able to post photographs later on today if this assists. The propeller is currently in Pinner, London.

Thanks

Chris Osborne
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:21 AM   #2
Dbahnson
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It's pretty clear that it is for an SE5A from the markings, and I would not expect any paperwork to even exist at this point.

Photos would be helpful, particularly close-ups of the stamped information. I think the "Z" should actually be a "T" in the drawing number, as "T" was used to identify the Royal Aircraft Factory drawings. However T29098 is listed as a 2 bladed version and T28097 is listed as the 4 bladed version, so yours may have been incorrectly stamped (which was not all that uncommon). It should be a left hand rotation, which we can determine with the photo, as it was used on a geared version of the 200 HP Hisso engine.

I don't believe I've seen an RAF decal, and perhaps they never had one. But if your prop has a decal please get a good photo of that as well.

The "G" and "N" numbers are production numbers and can be used to determine its date of manufacture, although I don't have that data. Bob Gardner will likely check in at some point and provide that info, but I think the G341 indicates a fairly late production, i.e. sometime after 1917.

If you have any trouble posting photos, please send them to "dave at woodenpropeller dot com" (use standard email format) and I can post them for you. Actual condition is very critical for any attempt at valuation.
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:23 AM   #3
Bob Gardner
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Greetings Chris,

I think your drawing number must be T28096 which is listed as one of the standard props for the SE5A, (where the word standard indicates preferred and/or authorised). Curiously, this drawing number is listed as both a two-bladed and a four-bladed propeller with the same pitch and diameter as yours, which I assume is an error by a typist working for the Air Board.

The drawing number T28098 also exists as a Standard Prop for the SE5A but it is for a two-bladed prop with D2515 and P3230.

The G number indicates a batch of one hundred propellers and G341 dates from circa March 1918.

The best way of selling your prop, if you wish to do so, is at auction. I recommend Dominic Winter near Cirencester. This house has two auctions each year of militaria and aeronautica. They will collect your prop if you wish.

The typical auction value in GB for an SE5A four-bladed prop in good condition is around 2500 GBP, but note that the auctioneers fee will be at least 15% which equates to about 400 GBP. A dealer, as I once was, will clean, tidy, repair and repolish the prop, which will cost him about 500 GBP and he will offer it for sale at around 5000 GBP, although I have seen some offered for more than this but they do not sell quickly.

With kind regards,

Bob
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:50 AM   #4
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Chris,

I echo Dave Bahnson's comments about decals. The Royal Aircraft Factory, known as the RAF until the Royal Air Force came into existence in April 1918, did not mass produce propellers. They designed and experimented with them and having come to a conclusion, the Air Board in London would let a contract to the trade for batches of 100. About 126 firms which made wooden items were recruited by the Government to make propellers. This included ship interior fitters, car makers (cars had a wooden chassis and body at this time) makers of advertising hoarders, interior decorators, furniture makers etc.

If your prop carries a makers decal please photograph it for our records.

With kind regards,

Bob
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:52 AM   #5
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Bob and Dave

Thanks very much for your prompt replies. I have taken the prop outside and taken some photographs I am just trying to figure out how to post them. When viewed in a better light you are right the drawing number does start with a T. I also think I misread the actual number it should read T28096.

I think the condition is fairly good. It needs a bit of a clean but I am not going to attempt that myself.

Bear with me while I try and add the photographs.

Thanks

Chris
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:55 AM   #6
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I should add. There was a barometer fixed in the middle which is why some of the bolt holes are filled in with what appears to be dowling. I have a couple more pics to.

Chris
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:41 PM   #7
pmdec
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Hi,
Thanks for the pics!
If Dave and Bob find, as it seems to me from the "crocodile skin" varnish, the prop is in quite perfect original condition, its value could be very high!
Regards,
PM
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:55 PM   #8
cozzy71
 
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Thank you very much everyone for all the great information. I now have a much better idea about what I am dealing with.

Chris
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:30 AM   #9
JR44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmdec View Post
Hi,
Thanks for the pics!
If Dave and Bob find, as it seems to me from the "crocodile skin" varnish, the prop is in quite perfect original condition, its value could be very high!
Regards,
PM
Yes, Don't clean it.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:47 AM   #10
Bob Gardner
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Chris,

A note about your prop. It is unusual in that it has fabric (Irish linen) from the tip to the root of each blade, which suggests that it dates from late 1918.

During the course of WW1, various measures were introduced to protect wooden propellers. The RFC carried out tests in late 1912 and early 1913 into the effect of small arms fire and shrapnel on wooden propellers with the thought that perhaps wooden props should be armoured. The experiments showed that laminated wooden props could retain their integrity even if hit by several rounds, so the idea of armoured props was dropped.

Undercarriages had a degree of flexibility so three point landings were essential to prevent a prop tip hitting the ground. WW1 aircraft literally flew from unprepared fields which were far from smooth so propeller tips were sheathed in brass which gave some protection from slight contact with the ground, mole-hills etc.

Pusher aircraft such as the FE2b and the Vickers FB series had the engine mounted behind the pilot and the undercarriage so the propellers on this type of aircraft were subject to erosion from dust, sand, and similar detritus so brass sheathing was introduced on blade tips.

Aircraft fabric, Irish Linen, began to be used as another layer of protection against erosion and was first added to the propeller tips, then to the outer third of a blade, then two thirds and finally like your prop, to cover the entire blade. This suggests that the prop is of the same age as the G number (G341), March 1918 or quite possibly later in 1918.

With kind regards,

Bob
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