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For other engines described as "rotary", see rotary engine (disambiguation).An 80 horsepower (60 k W) rated Le Rhône 9C, a typical rotary engine of WWI.
The rotating mass of the engine also caused significant gyroscopic precession: depending on the type of aircraft, this produced stability and control problems, especially for inexperienced pilots.
Another factor in the demise of the rotary was the fundamentally inefficient total-loss oiling system, caused by the need to aspirate the fuel/air mixture through the hollow crankshaft and crankcase along with the lubricating medium, as in a two-stroke engine.
A rotary engine is essentially a standard Otto cycle engine, but instead of having a fixed cylinder block with rotating crankshaft as with a conventional radial engine, the crankshaft remains stationary and the entire cylinder block rotates around it.
In the most common form, the crankshaft was fixed solidly to the airframe, and the propeller was simply bolted to the front of the crankcase.
Three key factors contributed to the rotary engine's success at the time: and even one-cylinder rotaries.