A late development of the Hawker Tempest, the Fury and Sea Fury were too late for WWII. Thanks in large part to the Sanders family, today there are several flying in the US, however, most have been re-engined with the Wright R3350. Other than some cowling mods and a four blade prop (turning the opposite direction), the conversion is hardly noticeable. The original Bristol Centaurus engine is a design only the seriously twisted gear head could love. As a purist, I prefer the Bristol engine, but if a swap keeps them flying...

A very correct looking Sea Fury parked out at Santa Barbara airport.

Remember the days when you could actually walk onto an airport?
Today I couldn't get within 100 yards of this spot without being arrested.

The big Bristol Centaurus is a sleeve valve engine. It does not have valves, rockers, pushrods or cams. Instead, there is a sleeve, between the cylinder and piston which rotates back and forth with the vertical motion of the piston. At the appropriate times, holes in the sleeve align with intake and exhaust ports in the cylinder wall.

Looking at the cutaway bore, what appears to be an upside down piston is in fact the cylinder head. It has "piston rings" to seal the sleeve, which extends up to just short of the top plate. One of the exhaust ports is revealed in the edge of the cut cylinder wall.

An impossibly complex arrangement of gears drives a lever at the bottom of the sleeve, and imparts the back and forth motion in conjunction with the rise and fall of the piston. That these engines worked reliably is a testament to something. I just don't know what.

Sea Fury Stats:

Wingspan: 38' 4.75"
Length: 34' 8"
Gross: 12,500lbs.
Max Speed: 435
Range: 680 miles
Service Ceiling: 34,300 ft.
Engine: Bristol Centaurus, 2,480 hp

Armed with four 20 mm cannon.