Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,419 pages of information and 233,872 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Note: This is a sub-section of De Havilland.
Four-cylinder air-cooled in-line engine designed by Frank Halford.
The de Havilland Gipsy Major or Gipsy IIIA is a four-cylinder, air-cooled, inline engine used in a variety of light aircraft produced in the 1930s including the famous Tiger Moth biplane.
The engine was a slightly modified Gipsy III which was effectively a de Havilland Gipsy engine modified to run inverted so that the cylinders pointed downwards below the crankcase. This allowed the propeller shaft to be kept in a high position without having the cylinders blocking the pilot's forward view over the nose of the aircraft.
One initial disadvantage of the inverted configuration was the high oil consumption (up to 4 pints per hour) requiring regular refills of the external oil tank, this problem improved over time with the use of modified piston rings. The Major was a slightly bored out (118 mm from 114 mm) Gipsy III.
First built in 1932, total production of all Gipsy Major versions was 14,615 units.
1960 Flight testing of the turbosupercharged Major 215 (military, Major 140) had been in progress for over a year. As the powerplant of the Westland Skeeter helicopter it enabled the l hour rating of 220 b.h.p. to to be maintained to 4,000ft at ISA+30°C or to about 8,000ft under standard conditions