Reply to post: Re: Starting handles

I could throttle you right about now: US Navy to ditch touchscreens after kit blamed for collision

SImon Hobson Silver badge

Re: Starting handles

That's all very well as long as nothing goes wrong. BUT, it's not at all hard for the engine to kick back - the spark occurs before top dead centre and so under the right conditions it's possible for the cylinder to fire and kick the engine round the wrong way. If that happens, the starter handle is not thrown out, but is very sharply moved backwards.

For that reason, there are some rules about starting with a handle. One of those is that you only ever PULL the handle while the ignition is live - that way, if it kicks back, your fingers can unroll from around the handle. If you are doing the "turn it round and round" lark, or pushing down, then it can kick back and the weakest link is your wrist.

So a typical starting procedure is IGNITION OFF, set fuelling according to engine state (eg choke if cold), pull through - that means turning the engine over to draw petrol vapour into the cylinders, and leaving it at the start of a compression stroke. Only then do you turn on the ignition, PULL the handle to turn the engine through a compression stroke - at which point it will hopefully fire and start.

Same thing with an aircraft engine. Only ever pull the prop blade and using your finger tips - so that if it kicks back it doesn't break your fingers. You do have the other complication that the prop doesn't "throw out" like a starter handle, so you have to make sure that your hands (and all other body parts) are out of the way before the next blade comes round. This isn't something I've actually had the need to try.

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