Re: Starting large piston engines

Date:         17 May 97 15:15:50 
From:         Tony Kinsley <>
Organization: Pennsylvania Online [Usenet News Server for Hire]
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Carl Peters, M.D. wrote:
> How were large radial pistons (eg. on a Connie, DC-4,6) started? The
> starter would be electrical, but what was the source - the onboard
> batteries vs. an external generator cart?

In 1979 I worked in Nigeria and helped some American friends run a
DC-6.  I started the engines a couple of times and seem to remember that
an APU had to be running before the start-up sequence was initiated (it
caught fire once which was quite exciting!).
A ground crewman would stand pointing a fire extinguisher at the engine
to be started and I would alternate pressing three switches on an
overhead panel (boost, ignition, fuel - memory fades) whilst counting
the props passing the vertical, after which a "start" lever was
advanced.  Hopefully, after that, everything behind the aircraft was
engulfed in smoke and the airplane would rumble to life!

Incidentally, if anyone knows the whereabouts of a Werner Hamp (used to
live in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), or Jim Flaganagan (used to fly the
Sunderland for Antilles Airboats), please drop me a line, I'd like to
hook up with them again.