Pete Buskell's Engine Designs

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The late Pete Buskell was a noted competitor on the English free flight scene, designing both models and engines for them. His designs and articles appeared in Aeromodeller in the 1950's and his name became synonomous with a set of performance modification techniques for the ED Racer. Modifying an engine is a tricky business. Pete sure knew what he was about, but modellers of less skill and understanding applied his techniques with varying results, leading to the term "Buskell-ized" being applied to Racers exhibiting the trade-mark removal of the cast exhaust stack, and other less obvious changes. The example shown here was given to Ken Croft, complete with the nose of a model covered in dried mud. The Tag on the cleaned up engine says "Runs well, looks crap" . Model engine news is pleased to present details of some of Pete's lesser known work, kindly written and provided by his son, John.

Ron Chernich, March 2008


The four homebuilt racing engines in the left-hand photo above were built by the late Pete Buskell (center) between 1955 and 1968 for use in his FAI free flight power models. All 4 use ED Racer crankshafts. Three of the four are complete and in running order. Apart from building these engines, Pete established a great reputation as a tuner of stock engines, starting with the ED Racer, all the way through to the mighty Rossi 15 (right-hand photo).

Diesel Pump, circa 1955, was completed and tested just in time for the 1955 F/F World Champs (there was just enough time to get it into a model, had it been any good). Itís not known if it ever flew. This engine, which is sadly incomplete, has a radially ported one piece cylinder/cooling fin assembly with a chromed bore, and a domed crown aluminium piston. The crankshaft shown is a modified ED Racer part, and is twin ball race supported. A modified ED backplate was probably used. Within the unfinned lower (pumping) cylinder is this piston and rod. Itís driven by the offset round cam attached to the front of the crankweb. There are no transfers in the pumping cylinder. As stated earlier, the cylinder is one piece with the cooling fins, and has a chromed bore. The firing piston is aluminium, as is the contrapiston.

This much more normal diesel engine also built circa 1956/7. It has the one piece cylinder/cooling fin assembly and aluminium piston arrangement of the ĎPumpí engine. It was used in competition with some limited success. It is a beautiful smooth running engine. Handling and starting are equally sublime.

The glow pump is quite different to the original Diesel Pump, featuring a ferrous piston/liner, a one piece much lighter crankcase and drum induction. This engine has been restored somewhat (thanks to Derek Collin) which is why the prop driver/spinner are not true ED Racer. Unlike the diesel Pump engine, this one was flown quite a lot, and got Pete to the fringe of the British team at the 1962 Team Trials.

The rear exhaust piped glow, last of the set, was built sometime in 1967. It was flown quite extensively, including the 1968 team trials where a 6th place finish was achieved. Piston and liner are Super Tigre G15. This engine is complete, and starts and runs very well. In truth, though, it is not quite as good as a Super Tigre G15.

Pete gave up building engines after the piped rear exhaust engine, stating that it was just not possible to build engines and aeroplanes. He used his own tuned G15ís for several years, qualifying for the 1971 World Champs in Sweden (his 5th World Champs appearance). History records that the Rossi 15 made itís grand entrance at the Ď71 champs, and Pete was not slow to get these wonderful engines into his FAI models. With long time friend and 1955 world champion, Mike Gaster whose own handbuilt engines are worthy of an article, Pete Buskellís engine efforts, especially with supercharged engines, are truly the mark of a free flight great.

John Buskell, March 2008

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