Walter motor T-1817 has had an interesting history over the last decade. It's origin is unclear, but in common with many Walter motors on its disposal from official use, it found its way into the museum circuit.


The Motor.

Aviation enthusiast Robert West was the first to directly supply a shot of the motor, dating from 2005.

It has worn its garish colour scheme for some years and was possibly painted with the intention of showing the different propellant "circuits".

Initially it seemed that the red colour was to show the C-Stoff pathway and the yellow for T-Stoff. However, the combustion chamber cooling outflow and return flow are different colours, despite being the same propellant, and the two pipes from the C-Stoff inlet for the fuel pump are different colours. Therefore, it is not clear what the colours were meant to represent, other than an eye-catching (and completely erroneous) scheme, or preservative coating.

Robert's picture shows the motor as it was exhibited against a blue background.

[Museum of Flying 109-509.A-1]


This is a complete motor, albeit without the electrical wiring, but this is often the case.

The condition of the parts seems good - there has been an overpainting spray, in what appears to have been an approximate match for RLM grey. This has covered the original paintwork and also the aluminium piping, but has possibly helped preserve the unt over the years. Peeping through the paintwork is some corrosion, and especially around joints, but the unit is not heavily affected.

There isn't much spectacular about this motor, but it does still retain its data plate, confirming what we can see, that it is an "A-1" series motor, with electrical starter.

Photographs © Robert West and Ludo Kloek - used with kind permission -
[Main view of Motor]

Compare this view with Robert West's (above), and you can see the peculiar colour scheme. One thing that is shown in this view is that there is a fault in the thrust line of the combustion chamber - the thrust tube itself seems to be fine, but the point where the Laterne joins is either damaged, or joined incorrectly. The combustion chamber is therefore sitting down at an angle of about five degrees or so.

The frame carries the motor, but from the photographs, it is difficult to know whether the frame was fitted to support the bent Laterne, or whether the damage has occurred at a later date.

[C-Stoff Panel Side of Motor]

Seen from the C-Stoff panel side, the motor's data plate is clearly shown. There is also a patch where something has been removed, and this is in the place where the "C" label is usually attached to indicate the C-Stoff panel. The data plate carries the following information:-
Gerat-Nr.:   109-509.A-1
Werke Nr.:   T-1817
Hersteller:   gxz

[Front Face of Motor]

This view shows the Bosch starter motor (bottom right corner), sprayed grey, and the very distinctive large, curved T-Stoff pipe.

[The business end]

Looking back up the body of the motor, the combustion chamber is towards the camera, and the Laterne and combustion thrust tube, leading all the way towards the main frame. The steam generator is shown clearly.

[Interior of Combustion Chamber]

This is an interesting shot for two quite different reasons. Ludo Kloek has managed to balance the light down into the combustion chamber interior, to plainly show the propellant burners.

The second reason is the wrong reason. Painting the exterior of the metal parts to either instruct of preserve may be forgiven. It would be nice to use the original colours, but choices are made, and maybe there is a good reason for the choice. But it is a real pity that the interior of the combustion chamber has been painted. All the information about the motor, whether it had been fired, the burning pattern, all the life of the thing, and the way you can get to look and almost meet with history are all gone.




The history of this motor is a little confusing - to mis-quote Winston Churchill, a bit of a "mystery wrapped in an enigma". From its disposal after its use by the military (at some point after the war), it is possible it was sold into private ownership.

The first time I was able to confirm the existance of T-1817 was when I received the images from Robert West, who took his photographs of T-1817 when it was on display at what he identified as the "Museum of Flying in Santa Monica" in California. His email to me was dated November 2005, and he did mention that the Museum of Flying was closed at that time for reconstruction. I have contacted the Museum of Flying for confirmation, and they say the motor was last on display in 2002.

According to the Museum of Flying's own website the museum moved to Santa Monica in 1989, closing in 2002 (which corresponds with the information in the paragraph above) until the new facility was opened in 2010-2011. Artifacts were in store on the airfield site during this time.

In the Autumn of 2005, another Komet / Rocket enthusiast, Ludo Kloek then provided some photographs of T-1817 in a completely different environment, at the "Western Museum of Flight" based at Hawthorne in California. It is possible that the owner removed it from store at Santa Monica and passed it to Hawthorne for temporary display. Interestingly, Ludo was able to take pictures from different angles, one of which confusingly shows a display leaflet on the motor which carries the logo of the "Museum of Flying" of Santa Monica.

Up to this point, the story seems fairly clear. However, on Flikr (try the following link - still operational in March 2013.. Flikr) an aviation enthusiast has published a photograph showing T-1817 in the background of a Yak 3 at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, California. This series of pictures is labelled by the author as the "Museum of Flying at Marina del Ray in California in 2010". The Flikr pictures seem to show a modern facility, but the background image behind T-1817 is identical to that in Robert West's photographs of at least five years earlier.

The Western Museum of Flight lost its facility at Hawthorne and was closed for a period, before being moved to a new location at Torrance. Maybe T-1817 was returned to its original site at Santa Monica.

Then after all the shuttling, in October 2011, T-1817 re-surfaced in an unusual location; for sale on e-Bay via Studio City, California. The asking price was $170,000, but at the last time of contacting the vendor (2012), T-1817 was still on offer; although as you read this, the situation may have changed. If you know different, please feel free to email me to bring me up to date.


Web Master Shamus Reddin   [SR Logo]
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