Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
What’s the story with that funny 12-bladed fan behind the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-5’s propeller? Fitting a big radial engine into the nose of a plane you want to be a sleek, speedy fighter creates a difficult design problem. Kurt Tank took the Fw 190’s BMW engine and wrapped it as tightly as he could. But that engine is air-cooled and, of course, it needs lots of air to run well. That fan gobbles the surrounding atmosphere, blasts it over the cylinders and, depending on how far the engine compartment louvers are open, directs cool(ish) air through the circular oil cooler neatly squeezed into the Fw 190’s armored front cowl.