Windy City Air Lease - Page 4

Blaisdell Overview

This overview photo presents the 65 hp Blaisdell engine and auxiliary equipment at the museum.  Note the small engine visible at the right of the photo, near the window of the building.

Blaisdell Starting Air Compressor

Engines the size of the 65 hp Blaisdell are much too large to be manually started, especially by only one person.  Therefore, the air compressing plant includes a starting air system.  A small Blaisdell compressor engine that can be manually started supplies the compressed air for starting the large engine.  Like its larger siblings, the starting air compressor features combustion and air compression in a single cylinder.  However, the small engine uses hot tube ignition and a wigwag cam mechanism for operating the internal combustion valve gear.

The cylindrical object to the right of the engine is actually a gas stove made from a section of well casing sitting atop a gas burner.  The metal plate on top of the stove was a handy “griddle” where Jim would often heat his lunch!

Starting Air Tank

The air receiver in the corner holds starting air for the 65 hp Blaisdell engine.  At Windy City, Jim would run the small Blaisdell to pressurize the receiver to about 110 psig before attempting to start one of the large engines.  The museum engineers still use this same system for starting the 65 hp Blaisdell.

Jim's Chair

When Jim needed to take a break he would relax in this rocking chair.

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