Franklin Engines




“Our core business is the repair and overhaul of Franklin Aircraft Engines. Southern Aero, LLC purchased the engine repair assets of C. G. Lucas Enterprises of Oklahoma. Robert has known Greg Lucas for many franklin_logoweb.pngyears. He interned with him and learned the art of Franklin Engine repair before opening up shop. Since then we have purchased the tooling and assets of Jerry DeBattista. Most recently Southern Aero has teamed with Franklin Aerospace, LLC. Kelly Bartlett purchased the last original factory parts to become the largest source of parts for the Franklin Engine. In addition to NOS parts, we are in the process of sourcing new replacement parts for those harder to find parts. Also in development is the reintroduction of the 4AC-235 engine for the experimental market.”

Franklin Engine History

The Franklin Engine Company was a manufacturer of aircraft engings, formed as the H. H. Franklin Company in 1902 in Syracuse, New York. Barely surviving bankruptcy in 1933, the company was purchased by a group of ex-employees and renamed Aircooled Motors in 1937. While the company kept the name "Aircooled Motors", their engines continued to be marketed under the Franklin name. Engineers Carl Doman and Ed Marks kepts the company alive through the depression by manufacturing air cooled truck and industrial engines.

During World War II, Aircooled Motors was very successful producing helicopter and airplane engines. Several aircraft carried their engines including the Aero-Flight Streak, Bartlett Zephyr, Bell 47, Bellanca Cruisair, Brantly B-1, Goodyear Duck, H-23 Raven, Hiller 360, Seibel S-4, Sikorsky S-52, Stinson Voyager, Taylorcraft 15, and the YT-35 Buckaroo.

Aircooled Motors was purchased by Republic Aviation Company in 1945 to produce engines for its Republic Seabee light amphibious aircraft. After the war demand for the eingines dropped dramatically , Republis was unsure of the companies future.1

franklin_epic.jpgIn 1947 Aircooled Motors was purchased for the price of $1.8 million by the Tucker Car Corporation to produce an engine for the infamous 1948 Tucker Sedan. After purchasing Aircooled Motors, Tucker cancelled all of the companies aircraft contracts so that its resources could be focused on making automotive engines for the Tucker Corporation. This was a significant event, since at the time of Tucker's purchse, Aircooled Motors held over sixty-five percent of postwar U. S. aviation engine production contracts. For this reason when the Tucker Car Corportation failed amidst allegations of stock fraud,Aircooled Motors nearly failed with it.

Tucker and the Tucker family held onto the company until 1969, when it was sold to Aero Industries who officially renamed it the Franklin engine Company.

In 1975 the government of Poland purchased the company and relocated production to Rzeszow, originally under the name PAL-Franklin and later simply PZL-F.

Roman Sadowski of Franklin Aircraft Engines Company purchased the PZL-F Franklin Company and is currently working on bringing factory support to the Franklin Engine community, supporting both legacy and new production engines.