The Wright brothers’ first flight is a bit of a misnomer. Man had been studying, inventing, and attempting means of flight since as early as the 16th century (with some arguing the “first flight” dates back even further). What set the forefathers of aviation apart from prior attempts was their heavier-than-air aircraft. For the first time in human history, aviation logistics had a sudden demand for aircraft engine parts.

Procuring aircraft engine parts for government contracts can be challenging. The supply chain for these parts is often complex, involving multiple vendors and suppliers. You often need technical knowledge of the products to ensure that they meet the required specifications, along with basic understanding of what government contracting entails to procure aircraft engine parts. 

Greenwood Aerospace leverages our 41 years of experience in government procurement to help you speed up the process of procuring and distributing quality aircraft engine parts, along with services such as:

With decades of experience in the aerospace industry, we provide a streamlined procurement process from start to finish. Ensure that you get the parts you need on time and within budget through Greenwood Aerospace.

In this article, we cover: 

  • The history of advancements in aircraft engine parts
  • The importance of buying quality aircraft engines and parts
  • How Greenwood Aerospace assists with your aircraft engine parts procurement

A Brief History of Aircraft Engine Parts

While the famed Wright Flyer increased the demand for quality aircraft engine parts, it was not the first aircraft to feature engine power. That distinction belongs to the aerial steam carriage designed by British inventor John Stringfellow. 

Stringfellow introduced the concept of powered flight with his aerial carriage, a steam-powered monoplane that achieved unmanned flight for short distances. Although ultimately unsuccessful, the aerial carriage did transition flight from glider and lighter-than-air contraptions to heavier-than-air aircraft.

Aviation’s history proceeded through the development and advancement of aircraft engines, culminating in the first manned flight at Kitty Hawk. Constant improvements to powered flight have resulted in some of the most important milestones in modern human history, including: 

  • The inline engine enables manned flight
  • The radial engine paves the way for supercharged aircraft
  • Turbojet and turboprop aircrafts revolutionize military aviation
  • Electric-powered engines showcase the future of aerospace

Inline Engines Power the First Flights

Inline, or straight, engines powered the very first flights, including the iconic Wright Flyer’s maiden voyage. Orville and Wilbur Wright enlisted the help of machinist Charlie Taylor, aiming to improve on their 3-horsepower engine. The trio developed the 12-horsepower, four-cylinder inline engine that would power the Wright Flyer for its inaugural 120-feet, 12-second flight. 

Other specifications of the first powered flight engine include:

  • Aluminum components: Much of the engine was aluminum, including one single piece encompassing the intake manifold, crankcase, and lugs 
  • Lack of interchangeable parts: The majority of the engine’s components were hand built for their intended purpose, lacking any ability to swap or easily replace damaged parts
  • Engine weight of 170 pounds: This included the radiator, fuel tank (containing less than 2 gallons of gas), and water tank
  • 12 hour overhauls: Time between air readiness was a half-day, meaning flights were few and far between (the initial Wright Flyer only achieved flight four times)

Inline engines in aviation differ from their automotive counterparts, referring to more than just the standard single-bank cylinder engines. Aircraft sporting inline engines can feature one of ten configurations, which are: 

  1. Straight Engine
  2. Fan Engine
  3. Horizontally Opposed Engine
  4. Multiple Bank Engine
  5. Opposed Piston Engine
  6. H Engine
  7. U Engine
  8. V Engine
  9. W Engine
  10. X Engine

While some inline radial engines have been built—such as the Wright R-2160 and Mathis Vega 42—the majority of early engines differentiated between the two styles. 

The Radial Engine Paves the Way for Advancements in Flying Power

Around the same time as Charlie Taylor was producing the Wright Flyer’s inline engine, engineers were hard at work on other forms of powered flight. Danish inventor Jacob Ellehammer translated his work with motorcycle maintenance to aircraft engine parts, producing the first ever air-cooled radial engine. 

By WWI, the radial engine was being installed in many combat aircraft due in part to its reliability and power-to-weight ratio. While advancements toward supercharged and turbocharged engines can be traced back to early attempts at powered flight, the capabilities of radial and inline engines were often supplanted or replaced for brief periods. For instance, rotary engines became the primary focus for engineers in the 1910s and 1920s. However, once the abilities of the rotary engines reached their peak, many manufacturers—specifically British and Japanese aircraft engineers—returned to the radial engine.

Turboprop and Turbojet Engines Revolutionize Air Travel

Much like the adoption of radial engines for aircraft in WWI, the majority of engines employed in WWII bombers were superchargers. While supercharging aircraft engines held certain advantages over turbocharging—mainly weight distribution and frequent overhauls—combat aircraft manufacturers sometimes opted for turbocharging over supercharging due to the increased power and improved fuel economy.

Supercharged and turbocharged engines quickly gave way to turboprop and turbojet power. By 1930, English engineer and pilot Frank Whittle patented his turbojet propulsion system, paving the way for modern jet engines. By 1940, turboprop engines were being successfully tested and installed in aircraft, beginning with the Jendrassik Cs-1 and culminating in the flight of the Gloster Meteor. 

Two years after the Gloster Meteor’s successful flight, the Bell Model 44, or Bell X-1, broke the sound barrier, flying at a speed over almost 1,000 mph. Today, turboprops are still achieving great things, such as the C-12 Huron program, aka “The World’s Most Popular Turboprop.” Turboprops and turbojet engines are advancing military actions, ISR work, and powered flight technology as much today as when they were first invented.

A C-12 Huron with American decals sits parked on a tarmac with crowds of onlookers inspecting it.
The C-12 Huron, aka, "The World's Most Popular Turboprop."

Electric-powered Engines Showcase the Future of Powered Flight

While the history of engine production may have started earlier than you think–with the first combustion engine predating powered flight by nearly a century—advancements in engine technology are still being made on an almost daily basis. From the scramjet to the use of fully-electric aircraft, the next great invention in aerospace could come at any moment.

Five recent innovations in aviation that are worth monitoring include:

  1. The first fully-electric aircraft is awarded certification. The Pipistrel E-811 received certification by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), becoming the first—but certainly not last—fully-electric aircraft to be EASA type-certified. 
  2. Twin engine aircraft are becoming more prevalent. Offering cost-effective alternatives to three- and four-engine aircraft, twin engined planes have improved in recent years enough to provide the same travel capabilities without the need for extra engine power.
  3. Unmanned flight making a “comeback.” Unlike the early days of unmanned flight, when ornithopters and monoplanes couldn’t accommodate the weight of pilots and passengers, modern unmanned aircraft are revolutionizing warfare through drones and AI, introducing a new era of unmanned military aircraft
  4. Air travel is becoming safer with each new advancement. 2021 experienced the second safest year in air travel, trailing only 2017, with a rate of 0.18 serious accidents per 1 million flights.
  5. Scramjets are becoming more realized. With the complexity of supersonic combustion, ramjets and scramjets were only experimental for much of their development in the 1970s and 1980s. It wasn’t until the HyShot project and later the Hyper-X that defense programs found success, reaching test speeds of Mach 9 and Mach 10. Scramjet technology continues to be tested and implemented, most recently with the  HAWC scramjet cruise missile. 

Whether you are looking to the future of aerospace innovation or seeking aircraft sustainment for planes already in flight, one thing is true of all aerospace programs: a reliable procurement and aircraft parts supplier is crucial. Greenwood Aerospace is here to help. 

The Importance of Procuring Quality Aircraft Engines And Engine Parts

Procuring aircraft engines and parts for government contracts can be daunting, especially in the ever-evolving global aircraft engine market. The procurement of quality aircraft and engine parts is critical for government contractors for several reasons, including:

  1. Increased safety and reliability
  2. Reduced long-term costs
  3. Added efficiency to operational performance

Increased Safety and Reliability for Your Aircraft

Using substandard aircraft engine parts can lead to catastrophic failures, resulting in fatal accidents. 

It is vital to work with a reputable company that understands the industry and the regulatory requirements of government contracts. Greenwood Aerospace, with over 41 years of experience in the industry, has the expertise to procure quality aircraft engine parts that meet the highest safety and reliability standards. 

By working with a company like Greenwood Aerospace, you can be confident that the aircraft engines and engine parts used in your projects will perform to the highest standards.

Reduced Long-term Costs through Savings on Maintenance and Repair

While the initial cost of high-quality aircraft engine parts may seem expensive, the cost savings can be significant in the long run. Through expert aircraft sustainment, Greenwood Aerospace helps reduce your program’s long-term costs for your fleet, from C-12s to Twin Otters

By using high-quality engine parts, you can reduce maintenance and repair costs in the long run, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership and program management.

Added Efficiency to Operational Performance

High-quality aircraft engines and engine parts are designed to operate optimally, resulting in better fuel economy and reduced emissions.

You can reduce your projects' environmental impact by using high-quality aircraft engine parts while saving on fuel costs. Additionally, high-quality aircraft and engine parts often improve overall performance, enabling government agencies to beat their project deadlines.

A Greenwood Aerospace employee pushes a cart stacked with cardboard boxes through the hallways of a modern warehouse.

Benefits of Working With Greenwood Aerospace for Your Aircraft Engine Parts Needs

When it comes to the procurement of aircraft engine parts, government contractors need to prioritize safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Partnering with a trusted, and experienced procurement company like Greenwood Aerospace can help you achieve these goals. Key benefits of working with Greenwood Aerospace for aircraft engine parts procurement include:

  • Procurement of aircraft engine parts through advanced technology
  • Streamlined processes 
  • Cost-savings 
  • Expert understanding and application of government regulations
  • Compliance with standards and specifications throughout the procurement process

Access to the Latest Technology and Products Through Advanced Technology

Greenwood Aerospace is a national stock supplier of aircraft parts & accessories, which means we have access to the latest technology and products in the industry. 

With over four decades of operation, Greenwood Aerospace has compiled an extensive stock of proprietary and aftermarket aviation parts. This means we can provide contractors with the parts you need quickly and efficiently.

Greenwood Aerospace also uses advanced technology to streamline the procurement process. They use GPIQ Part Procurement Intelligence, an innovative tool that provides real-time market intelligence on aircraft parts' pricing, availability, and lead times.

Streamlined Process from Start to Finish

Greenwood Aerospace's procurement process ensures that contracts are streamlined and effective from the beginning to the end of the project. 

Our experienced procurement team understands the complexities of the aerospace industry and works tirelessly to ensure that our clients get the parts they need when they need them. With a focus on efficiency, our streamlined procurement process can help you meet your project goals and objectives while alleviating any supply chain stress and delays.

Savings on Costs and Time 

Greenwood Aerospace's procurement team can help you procure aircraft engine parts and accessories more efficiently and at costs that fit your budget. With our team’s extensive knowledge and experience in the aerospace industry, we can identify potential gaps in your supply chain early and mitigate them before they become costly. 

Our large supplier network allows for more competitive pricing, which can result in substantial cost savings for contractors. By streamlining the procurement process and taking care of the legwork for contractors, Greenwood Aerospace helps save time and money, enabling you to focus on other critical aspects of your program.

Expert Understanding and Application of Government Regulations

Greenwood Aerospace's long-standing experience in working with government contractors has afforded us a deep understanding of government procurement's complex regulations and requirements. 

Contractors seeking to improve their flight programs can benefit greatly from our knowledge of the bidding and procurement process. Our representatives provide the legwork to ensure that you stay compliant with government rules and requirements

This knowledge and experience can save you time and money, as you won't have to spend hours researching the procurement process or navigating the intricacies of government regulations on your own. Greenwood Aerospace is a valuable supplier for government contractors seeking to procure quality aircraft engine parts.

Compliance with Standards and Specifications

Compliance is an important part of Greenwood Aerospace's success in government procurement. Our team knows how complicated the regulations are in the aerospace industry, and we work hard to ensure that all the parts we buy pass the necessary tests. 

We provide expert services such as aviation logistics, MIL-SPEC packaging, and quality assurance to provide all of our clients the best possible aircraft and parts procurement. Our commitment to compliance ensures the safety and reliability of aircraft engines, and helps you avoid potential delays, setbacks, and financial liabilities by procuring the right parts for your program. 

Streamline the Procurement Process of Aircraft Engine Parts with Greenwood Aerospace Today

You can mitigate stress, improve safety, and increase efficiency by partnering with Greenwood Aerospace for your aircraft engine parts procurement needs. We provide a streamlined procurement process from start to finish, access to the latest technology and products, and a team of experts who understand government procurement requirements.

Contact us today through our site or at to begin streamlining your parts procurement needs, and keep your aerospace program flying smoothly.

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