Nelson (US)

The Nelson Aircraft Corporation of San Fernando, California was founded in 1945 by sailplane pilot Ted Nelson and sailplane designer William Hawley Bowlus. Nelson and Bowlus had been interested since the early 1930s in low-powered engines to provide auxiliary power for launching sailplanes. The low-power Righter two-stroke cycle target drone engines used in WWII were attractive to them as a point of departure. The Righter engine business had been sold to Radioplane Corporation in May 1945 and later became Northrop-Ventura. Nelson and Bowlus developed the Nelson Bumblebee pod-and-boom fuselage two-seat powered sailplane [NX1955] in 1945-46 with a Righter 16hp 4-cylinder HOAE (J47, MAN5/46). The Nelson firm then developed their own 25-28hp 4-cylinder, two-stroke cycle H-44 and H-49 engines for a limited production version of the BB-1 Bumblebee called the BB-1 Dragonfly. Nelson received Type Certificate GTC-19 on 4/21/47 as the Nelson Auxiliary Power Glider BB-1 with either the H-44 or H-49. This TC covered the Dragonfly production. In 1949, what was by then the Nelson Specialty Corporation in San Leandro, California developed the Hummingbird, another two-seat powered sailplane [N68959] with a conventional fuselage and a retractable Nelson H-59 pusher engine above and behind the cockpit (FM11/50). This project never proceeded to production, although the successor Nelson firm was still marketing it in 1968. In the middle 1950s, Barmotive Products, Inc. of San Leandro, California (J55-56 to J58-59) began producing the Nelson H-59 and H-63 engines described below. Ted Nelson was listed as a Special Consultant to Barmotive. In about 1959, the firm returned to the earlier Nelson Specialty Corp. name with Ted Nelson as president. On 7/15/66, the Nelson H-63 type certificate 4E1 was transferred to Charles R. Rhoades who operated as the Nelson Aircraft Company and relocated to Pennsylvania, first in East Pittsburgh and then in Irwin (near Pittsburgh). Ted Nelson was by then, apparently, no longer associated with the firm. On 2/14/96, TC 4E1 was transferred to Charles R. Rhoades of 420 Harbor Drive, Naples, Florida 33940, where the Rhoades firm continues in business today.

O-44 (2-Stroke) -- {2.25 / 2.75 / 43.7} / {57.2 / 69.9 / 717}

Same stroke as the O-49, O-59, O-62.

4cyl; H-44; 25hp@3900rpm (TO); 1945-1948; Wt = 40#; TC = none.
Single-ignition engine for powered sailplane applications.; J47; MAN5/46.
Applications: (US) Nelson Bumblebee, Dragonfly.

O-49 (2-Stroke) -- {2.375 / 2.75 / 48.7} / {60.3 / 69.9 / 799}

Same stroke as the O-44, O-59, O-62.

4cyl; H-49; 28hp@4000rpm (TO); 1945-1948; Wt = 40#; TC = none.
Single-ignition engine for powered sailplane applications.; J47; MAN5/46.
Applications: (US) Nelson Bumblebee, Dragonfly.

O-59 (2-Stroke) -- {2.625 / 2.75 / 59.5} / {66.7 / 69.9 / 975}

Same stroke as the O-44, O-49, O-62.

4cyl; H-59; 40hp@4000rpm; 1949-1957; Wt = 60#; TC = none.
Single-ignition engine that could be mounted either horizontally or vertically.; J55-56toJ57-58; S.
Applications: (France) Survol (Fauvel) A.V.45. (US) Bensen B-7M Gyro-Copter; Gyrodyne XRON-1 (GCA-59) Rotocycle for USN; Haufe Hawk 3 powered sailplane [N1951Z]; Hiller VZ-1 Pawnee (flying platform for US Army); Nagler NH-120 light helicopter; Nelson Hummingbird.

O-62 (2-Stroke) -- {2.6875 / 2.75 / 62.4} / {68.3 / 69.9 / 1023}

Same stroke as the O-44, O-49, O-59.

4cyl; H-63, Military YO-65; 43-45hp@4000rpm; 1955-present; Wt = 68-76#; TC = 4E1 on 2/8/60.
Dual- or single-ignition engines that can be mounted either horizontally or vertically; vertical helicopter engines have a shrouded cooling fan. Geared versions were also available. The Type Certificate is only for the H-63C horizontal mounting and H-63CP vertical mounting versions, both of which have the required dual-ignition.; Aprg12/67 (for Nelson/Piper twin application); BGP; J57-58to present; Dan Yager's QuickHeads Website (for Quickie application); W62-63.
Applications: (Germany) RFB (Alexander Lippisch design) X-113 wing-in-ground-effect vehicle. (US) Goodyear GA-33, -447, -468 (AO-3, XOA-3) Inflatoplanes; Gyrodyne XROE-1 Portable Rotocycle for USN; Nelson Dragonfly, Hummingbird P.G. 185-B; Nelson/Lerho Terra-Plane (non-flying taxying trainer); Nelson/Piper light twin (J-3 conversion) [N6411H]; Pontius Model 11 {(France) Mignet HM-160 design} [NX68936]; Quickie.


Updated 3/4/08