Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum’s Anzani Engine Appeal

Photo via Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum
Aircorps Art Dec 2019


The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in upstate New York has a long a storied legacy when it comes to the preservation and operation of early flying machines, dating from the early days of powered flight through the so-called Golden Age in the 1920s/30s. Founded by the legendary Cole Palen during the late 1950s, Old Rhinebeck is arguably America’s first flying museum dedicated to the history of antique aircraft. In a recent news letter, the organization launched an appeal to acquire an extraordinarily rare, pre-WWI Anzani aircraft engine. An Italian, Alessandro Anzani became famous for his early foray into aircraft engine design, and is perhaps best known for the 3 cylinder engine which powered Louis Blériot’s Type XI monoplane which made the first successful crossing of the English Channel in July, 1909. But the engine Old Rhinebeck is after is a far more unusual and rarer 6-cylinder Anzani! While it may seem like an obscure engine to seek out, this particular type powered some of earliest designs of America’s most important civil aviation pioneers, as the museum’s newsletter describes below…


We have a unique opportunity to purchase a rare and unusual engine for the collection. But we need your help to raise $9,000 by mid April! The engine is a 60 hp 6-cylinder Anzani air cooled radial engine. Yes – a six cylinder radial! It is one of the earliest two-row radial engines, using the same pistons, cylinders and valve assemblies as the familiar three cylinder 35 hp engine on our 1909 Bleriot.

Clyde Cessna circa 1917 with his 6 cylinder Anzani powered Comet monoplanes
Clyde Cessna circa 1917 with his 6 cylinder Anzani powered “Comet” monoplanes

Little-used during World War I because of its low power, this type was installed on a number of early light airplanes into the early 1920s, including Clyde Cessna’s first commercial airplane! Caudron, Laird, Bellanca and a number of other designers also powered some of their early aircraft with a 6-cylinder Anzani. This would be a very significant addition to our collection.and we already have pledges totaling more than $1,500 To help us reach our goal of $9,000 please email a pledge of support to collections@oldrhinebeck.org with ANZANI as the subject. Please include your postal address and a phone number. When we close the deal we’ll ask for your payment.

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