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Gnome Omega

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Title: Gnome Omega  
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Subject: Rotary engine, Henri Farman, Aircraft engine, Royal Air Force Museum London, Gnome Monosoupape, Motorenfabrik Oberursel, Gabriel Voisin, Gnome et Rhône, Bristol Boxkite, Blériot XI
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Gnome Omega

Gnome 7 Omega on display at the Royal Air Force Museum London
Type Rotary aero engine
Manufacturer Gnome Engine Company
First run 1908
Major applications Blériot XI
Bristol Boxkite
Number built 4,000 until 1914[1] (more later)
Unit cost £520 in 1909[1]

The Gnome 7 Omega (commonly called the Gnome 50 hp) is a French seven-cylinder, air-cooled aero engine.[2] It was shown at the Paris Aero Salon held in December 1908 and was first flown in 1909. It was the world's first[1] rotary engine produced in quantity, and its introduction revolutionized the aviation industry[3] and it was used by many early aircraft. It produced 50 horsepower (37 kW) from its capacity of 8 litres (488 cubic inches).[4] A Gnome Omega engine powers the 1912 Blackburn Monoplane, owned and operated by the Shuttleworth Collection, the oldest known airworthy British-designed aeroplane worldwide.[5] A two-row version of the same engine was also produced, known as the Gnome 14 Omega-Omega or Gnome 100 hp. The prototype Omega engine still exists, and is on display at the United States' National Air and Space Museum.[6]


Gnome 7 Omega
Single-row 7-cyl. original version; 50 hp (37 kW).
Gnome 14 Omega-Omega
Two-row, 14-cylinder version using Omega cylinders; 100 hp (75 kW).


Gnome 7 Omega

  • Short S.37 Tractor Monoplane
  • Short Triple Twin
  • Short S.47 Triple Tractor
  • Short S.62
  • Sopwith Bee
  • Sopwith Sparrow
  • Valkyrie Type B
  • Vickers No.6 Monoplane
  • Vickers No.7 Monoplane
  • Vickers Boxkite School Biplane

Gnome 14 Omega-Omega

Engines on display

Specifications (7 Omega)

Data from Lumsden.[4]

General characteristics

  • Type: 7-cylinder, single-row, rotary engine
  • Bore: 110 mm (4.3 in)
  • Stroke: 120 mm (4.7 in)
  • Displacement: 8 L (488.5 cu in)
  • Length: 79 cm (31 in)
  • Diameter: 84 cm (33 in)
  • Dry weight: 75 kg (165 lb)


  • Valvetrain: pressure-driven inlet valves were located on the pistons[1]
  • Oil system: Total loss, castor oil
  • Cooling system: Air-cooled
  • Reduction gear: Direct drive, right-hand tractor, left-hand pusher


  • Power output: 37 kW (50 hp) at 1,200 rpm

See also

Comparable engines
Related lists




  • Lumsden, Alec. British Piston Engines and their Aircraft. Marlborough, Wiltshire: Airlife Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-85310-294-6.

External links

Video of April 2009 ground runup of a restored Gnome Omega in the USA

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