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Preserved Rolls-Royce Falcon III at the Shuttleworth Collection

The Rolls-Royce Falcon is an aero engine developed in 1915. It was a smaller version of the Rolls-Royce Eagle; a liquid cooled V-12 of 867 cu in (14.2 L) capacity. Fitted to many British World War I era aircraft, production ceased in 1927.

An airworthy Falcon survives today and powers a Bristol F.2 Fighter during summer displays.

Design and development[edit | edit source]

Production of the Falcon began in September 1916 and was so successful that it was also manufactured under licence by Brazil Straker in Bristol.[1] Production continued until 1927, by which time 2,185 had been built.[2]

An unusual feature of this engine is the epicyclic propeller reduction gear which contains a clutch designed to limit the maximum torque, thus protecting the reduction gears.[3]

The Falcon was notably used in the Bristol F.2 Fighter and Blackburn Kangaroo bomber.

Variants[edit | edit source]


Falcon I (Rolls-Royce 190 hp Mk I)
(1916-17), 230 hp, 250 engines produced in both left and right hand tractor versions.
Falcon II (Rolls-Royce 190 hp Mk II)
(1917), 253 hp, carburettor size increased. 250 built at Derby.
Falcon III (Rolls-Royce 190 hp Mk III)
(1917-1927), 285 hp, increased compression ratio (5.3:1), twin carburettors replaced with four Rolls-Royce/Claudel-Hobson units. 1,685 built at Derby.

Applications[edit | edit source]

List from Guttery and Lumsden:[2][3]

Survivors[edit | edit source]

Bristol F.2B Fighter, D-8096, is based at the Shuttleworth Collection and is powered by a Falcon III, this aircraft flies regularly throughout the summer months.[5]

Engines on display[edit | edit source]

Specifications (Falcon III)[edit | edit source]

Rolls-Royce Falcon.jpg

Data from Jane's[6] and Lumsden.[2]

General characteristics

  • Type: 12-cylinder liquid-cooled 60 deg. Vee aircraft piston engine
  • Bore: 4 in (101.6 mm)
  • Stroke: 5.75 in (146 mm)
  • Displacement: 866.5 in³ (14.2 L)
  • Length: 68 in (1,727 mm)
  • Width: 40.3 in (1,024 mm)
  • Height: 37.2 in (945 mm)
  • Dry weight: 715 lb (324 kg)


  • Valvetrain: Overhead camshaft, two valves per cylinder
  • Fuel system: Four Rolls-Royce/Claudel-Hobson carburettors
  • Fuel type: 40-50 octane petrol (pre-1923)
  • Cooling system: Liquid-cooled


  • Power output: 288 hp (215 kW) at 2,300 rpm at sea level
  • Compression ratio: 5.3:1
  • Fuel consumption: 18.5 Imp gal/hr (84 L/hr)
  • Oil consumption: 0.75 Imp gal/hr (3.4 L/hr)
  • Power-to-weight ratio: 0.4 hp/lb (0.66 kW/kg)

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Pugh 2001, p.82.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lumsden 2003, p.188.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Guttery 1969, p.27.
  4. Alternate designations in italics.
  5. Shuttleworth Collection - Bristol Fighter www.shuttleworth.org. Retrieved: 14 February 2009
  6. Jane's 1989, p.312.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Guttery, T.E. The Shuttleworth Collection. London: Wm. Carling & Co, 1969. ISBN 901319-01-5
  • Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War I. London. Studio Editions Ltd, 1993. ISBN 1-85170-347-0
  • Lumsden, Alec. British Piston Engines and their Aircraft. Marlborough, Wiltshire: Airlife Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-85310-294-6.
  • Pugh, Peter. The Magic of a Name - The Rolls-Royce Story: The First 40 Years. Duxford, Cambridge: Icon Books, 2001. ISBN 1-84046-151-9.

External links[edit | edit source]

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