the Distance Project 8
The Distance Project 9

Flying at Ground Level

Flying Millyard

The Monday Photo

This motorcycle is the Flying Millyard, built by the very clever Allan Millyard, with parts from an aircraft engine.

He used two cylinders and pistons from a nine cylinder Pratt & Whitney R1340 aero engine, to make a five litre V-twin motorcycle engine. Inside, each cylinder is as big as a two and a half litre paint tin. Inside a typical 1.8 litre, four cylinder car engine, the cylinders are only about as big a coffee cup.

The bike isn’t built for top speed; it’s good for about 100 mph. It came about almost by accident. Millyard had won an award for his tiny 100cc SS100 V-twin, built with Honda SS50 moped parts, at the prestigious Salon Prive motoring event.

They asked him what he was going to do next, and he just told them on the spot that he was going to build the world’s biggest V-twin. Eleven months later, he had finished making the Flying Millyard. He has made many other unique engines, so many that there isn’t the space to go into them here. But here’s his Youtube channel.

The R1340 engine was Pratt and Whitney’s first engine, and powered aeroplanes and later on even helicopters, from the 1920s on. It’s a radial engine; the nine cylinders are arranged around a central crankcase, directly behind the aircraft’s propellor. They are fitted with a supercharger, though the Flying Millyard doesn’t have one.

I photographed the bike in 2018 at the annual Ludgershall Bike Night, which is always (but not this year) held in the village on the first Monday in July.

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