How To Start A Reciprocating Aircraft Engine (III)

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Pablo Edronkin

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Once that is done the pilot jumps into the cockpit and proceed to finish any pending pre-flight check if the operation's manual requires it. He will check that the fuel valve is open and that the magneto selector is in the off position. He will have to control the parking area visually, including the actions of his companion who will actually manipulate the propeller, that is, the starting director.


This is the way to grab the propeller if you want to move it in the same direction as the engine moves it.
This is the way to grab the propeller if you want to move it in the same direction as the engine moves it.

Once all that is also accomplished, the pilot will make sure that the throttle is placed on the idle position and the magneto selector is in "Off"; we insist a lot with this, but it is for safety reasons. Particularly if there are kids around or in the airplane, you should be very cautious and never assume that what you checked five minutes ago - like a key or lever - will remain in the same position or status.


The magneto key should be left in the OFF position when someone is touching the prop.
The magneto key should be left in the OFF position when someone is touching the prop.

From then on, the person who will actually move the propeller by hand will act as the director of the operation, taking control of it and telling the pilot what to do. Of course, the pilot in command remains the responsible person so if he or she sees anything unsatisfactory with the behaviour or performance of the engine, or anything else, the whole operation may be aborted on his command.



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