Lawrance Model ‘A’ Air Cooled Engine (ca 1916)

Lawrance Model A
Display Status: On display
Type: Two-cylinder, air-cooled horizontally opposed piston aircraft engine


The Model A is the forerunner of all Wright, air cooled engines including the J-5, also on display. It was designed by Charles L. Lawrance. Models of the two cylinder engine were used in light weight, US Navy trainers during pre-flight ground training. The aircraft were completely equipped except for the wings which were too small to actually achieve flight. The smaller wings gave the trainee the feel of an aircraft being taxied.

While it was mostly a learning experience for Lawrence, the Model A lead to the development of the J-5, which became the first air cooled aircraft engine used by the US Navy. The J-5 was used by Charles A. Lindbergh in his “Spirit of St. Louis” and lead to Lawrance’s eventual presidency of the Wright Aeronautical Company.