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Starting Your Engine

Featuring Wally Moran


"Wally, we're ready to start engines. What would you recommend in this area?"


"Well Bob, I think you can recognize a good airman simply by listening to them start the aircraft engine. There are some traits, if you just watch and listen. You know, when I hear an engine roar on startup I've already developed an impression about that pilot's airmanship.

The high RPM right after start is bad for a couple of reasons. First of all, that engine is cold. Those parts are not properly lubricated, and you put a lot of wear on the engine when you first start it. Keeping the RPM lower saves that wear and tear. And further, when that engine roars, you're blowing dirt and sand and making noise on the ramp.

Another issue, Bob, is the pilot who cranks and cranks and cranks without getting his engine started. If the engine doesn't start after a few revolutions it either doesn't have enough fuel or it has too much - one or the other. So make a decision. Decide which procedure to use and complete the procedure. Either give it more prime or clear the engine and then try it again. Continuous cranking is only going to do one thing; wear out the starter and ultimately wind up with a dead battery."


"One pet peeve of mine, Wally, while we're starting the engine, is the subject of clearing. You know most of us will do a brief clear, and some say it louder than others. But the intent is really just to clear the area, and are we really doing that? Is there somebody around our airplane that may be affected by us rotating that propeller? And I think we have to approach it as a very positive action and make sure that we're genuinely clearing the area before we start that propeller in motion."


"That's for sure. That thing is a dangerous weapon out there and it can create a lot of havoc on the ramp. So we sure want to be absolutely positive that nothing's in the way."

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