© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
In addition to the reporting by Connecticut Public Radio that appears below, Connecticut Public Television has produced two video series that focus on manufacturing in our state:Made in Connecticut profiles some of Connecticut's local manufacturing businesses, from high-tech to handmade.Making the Future introduces us to some Connecticut youth pursuing careers in manufacturing and the trades. This series was produced as part of the American Graduate: Getting to Work project with support form the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Pratt and Whitney's Wasp Engine Honored as Landmark

Pratt & Whitney
The original Wasp assembly line
Credit Pratt & Whitney
Pratt & Whitney
Fred Rentschler, second from left, with the 1,000th Wasp produced

Pratt and Whitney’s original engine has been designated as a national engineering landmark. The honor for the Wasp comes around the 90th anniversary of its first flight. 

The invention of Pratt and Whitney aviation pioneer, Fred Rentschler, The Wasp first took to the air on May 5 in 1926. The company and its partners went on to make and deliver more than 360,000 of the engines as the Wasp powered nearly 100 different types of planes through World War II and into subsequent decades.

Pratt and Whitney’s present-day Director of Advanced Programs and Technology Jimmy Kenyon said the engine was the first to take advantage of air cooling, making it lighter and faster.

"What that in essence did, is create a superior engine, that revolutionized aviation and really built up Connecticut as an aviation powerhouse," he told WNPR.

The company’s achievement in creating the Wasp was recognized recently by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, as it designated the engine a national landmark - one of about 260 around the nation.

The society describes the Wasp as "a major milestone in a stream of progress that has taken us from the Wright Brothers 28-horsepower engine to the turbofan engines of today."

"They are monuments to engineering achievement that celebrate the impact that engineering has had on society," said Jimmy Kenyon.

Credit Pratt & Whitney
Pratt & Whitney
ASME President Dr. Julio Guerrero, P&W retiree Bud Lewis, and P&W President Bob Leduc. Lewis worked on the engine in the 1940s.

And Kenyon believes Pratt and Whitney continues to honor Rentschler’s achievement in the 21st century. "Now we're putting into service the next generation Pure Power geared turbofan which is once again revolutionizing aviation," he said.

Production of the Wasp ended in 1960, but there are still many flying today, in the hands of collectors.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content