Flight Training - November 2012 - 12

PREFLIGHT»

HOW IT WORKS

BY IAN J. TWOMBLY

The starter
Every powered flight begins with a turn of this device
STARTING AN AIRPLANE engine seems like a pretty easy task. Simply flip on the power with the master switch and turn the key to start. Of course, what actually happens between when that key turns to “Start” (or the button is depressed for pushbutton systems) and when the engine starts developing its own power involves a number of steps and interplays that are quite complex. The starter does most of the hard work. When the key is turned to the Start position, a solenoid closes, which allows a high amount of amperage to go to the starter motor. The

motor then goes to work converting electrical energy to mechanical energy. In most systems a series of gears turn, eventually pushing out a small shaft with a number of teeth on the end that rotate. Those teeth grab on the flywheel or ring gear behind the propeller, turning it, which turns the crankshaft, which starts the combustion process. Even if the pilot doesn’t manually disengage the starter, it will automatically do so at a certain rotation speed. Other starters are mounted on the back of the engine, but that's less common in training airplanes.

Ring gear

THE STARTER IS A SMALL, ELECTRICALLY DRIVEN MOTOR THAT HELPS BEGIN THE COMBUSTION PROCESS.

This part slides, allowing the starter gear to engage the ring gear.

PLUS See the starter in action. Electric motor

FAILURE MODES
Starters can succumb a number of different ways. If the engine kicks back because of a timing or fuel issue, the pressure can break the shear pin, rendering the starter inoperative. This pin, in an act of self preservation, is meant to fail prior to the other components. Any number of electrical issues, from bad solenoids to weak batteries, can cause a slow starter turn, a click with no engagement, and no action whatsoever. Too much use, say from working the starter hard as the pilot tries to get the engine to fire, can burn the motor and cause the starter to fail as well.
STEVE KARP

12 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG


http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - November 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - November 2012

Flight Training - November 2012
Contents
President’s Perspective
Right seat
Letters
Southern Exposure
How It Works
ASI News
Success Story
News
Since You Asked
News Final Exam
Tech Tip
AOPA Action
Checkride
Flying Carpet
Icy Reception
Beyond All Expectations
Technique
Weather
Flight Lesson
Voices of Reason
Tech Talk
Keep Students Stoked
He Said 'Yes' But Means 'No'
Night Moves
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - November 2012 - Flight Training - November 2012
Flight Training - November 2012 - Cover2
Flight Training - November 2012 - Contents
Flight Training - November 2012 - 2
Flight Training - November 2012 - 3
Flight Training - November 2012 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - November 2012 - 5
Flight Training - November 2012 - Right seat
Flight Training - November 2012 - 7
Flight Training - November 2012 - Letters
Flight Training - November 2012 - 9
Flight Training - November 2012 - Southern Exposure
Flight Training - November 2012 - 11
Flight Training - November 2012 - How It Works
Flight Training - November 2012 - ASI News
Flight Training - November 2012 - Success Story
Flight Training - November 2012 - News
Flight Training - November 2012 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - November 2012 - 17
Flight Training - November 2012 - News Final Exam
Flight Training - November 2012 - Tech Tip
Flight Training - November 2012 - AOPA Action
Flight Training - November 2012 - Checkride
Flight Training - November 2012 - 22
Flight Training - November 2012 - 23
Flight Training - November 2012 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - November 2012 - 25
Flight Training - November 2012 - Icy Reception
Flight Training - November 2012 - 27
Flight Training - November 2012 - 28
Flight Training - November 2012 - 29
Flight Training - November 2012 - 30
Flight Training - November 2012 - 31
Flight Training - November 2012 - Beyond All Expectations
Flight Training - November 2012 - 33
Flight Training - November 2012 - 34
Flight Training - November 2012 - 35
Flight Training - November 2012 - Technique
Flight Training - November 2012 - 37
Flight Training - November 2012 - Weather
Flight Training - November 2012 - 39
Flight Training - November 2012 - 40
Flight Training - November 2012 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - November 2012 - 42
Flight Training - November 2012 - 43
Flight Training - November 2012 - 44
Flight Training - November 2012 - Voices of Reason
Flight Training - November 2012 - 46
Flight Training - November 2012 - 47
Flight Training - November 2012 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - November 2012 - Keep Students Stoked
Flight Training - November 2012 - He Said 'Yes' But Means 'No'
Flight Training - November 2012 - Night Moves
Flight Training - November 2012 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - November 2012 - 53
Flight Training - November 2012 - 54
Flight Training - November 2012 - 55
Flight Training - November 2012 - Debrief
Flight Training - November 2012 - Cover3
Flight Training - November 2012 - Cover4
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