Bristol 'Centaurus' sleeve-valve aero engine, c 1940s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Centaurus engine represents the final phase of the high-powered piston aero-engine and was the largest radial engine made in Britain before the advent of the turbo-jet and turbo-prop aero-engines made this type obsolete. Centaurus engines were used on the British European Airways Ambasador airliners and the Blackburn Beverley, a large transport. The pure military version shown here, the Mk18 was used to power the Fleet Air Arm Hawker Sea Fury.