View Full Version : Are all pilots this daft

28th Jun 2001, 20:03
The Standard (Kenya)

"What is all the fuss about?" Weseka Sambu asked a hastily convened news conference at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. "A technical hitch like this could have happened anywhere in the world. You people are not patriots. You just want to cause trouble."

Sambu, a spokesman for Kenya Airways, was speaking after the cancellation of a through flight from Kisumu, via Jomo Kenyatta, to Berlin. "The forty two passengers had boarded the plane ready for take-off, when the pilot noticed one of the tyres was flat. Kenya Airways did not possess a
spare tyre, and unfortunately the airport nitrogen canister was empty. A passenger
suggested taking the tyre to a petrol station for inflation, but unluckily
the jack had gone missing so we couldn't get the wheel off. Our engineers tried heroically to reinflate the tyre with a bicycle pump, but had no luck, and the pilot even blew into the valve with his mouth, but he passed out."

"When I announced that the flight had to be abandoned, one of the passengers, Mr Mutu, suddenly struck me about the face with a
life-jacket whistle and said we were a national disgrace. I told him he was being ridiculous, and that there was to be another flight in a fortnight. And, in the meantime, he would be able to enjoy the scenery around Kisumu, albeit at his own expense."

28th Jun 2001, 20:59
This story has been doing the rounds for years!

29th Jun 2001, 11:54
Never heard it before...dont care if its an urban myth ...havent laughed so much in ages....

Cheers g-skip :)

29th Jun 2001, 12:02
On a Lake service in EAA had to ask for a rope and the loan of the fire service 'Landy' to rope start the engine on a Dak when the starter went U/S and the inertial start jack handle was missing. Pax looked a bit dubious but very happy at other end. Never tried to inflate the tire oraly/manualy though, that was a brave effort.

1st Jul 2001, 15:49
Did this work, or are you still stuck there?
Could you provide instruction on the technique you used to start the DC3. How, and where was the rope and Land Rover and DC3 connected.
As an ex DC3 pilot I missed this on the course but find it fasinating.

We will do the drill according to the amendments to the amendments I er think?

old pick it her
1st Jul 2001, 16:15

Flying in Alaska I had never actually witnessed this being done but had heard of it a lot and had seen an old 35MM slide from the 1950s as preparations were being made to start a Grumman on the water with a boat in lieu of a Rover.

The way it was explained is that the rope is wrapped around the prop dome/spinner on the round engine and attached to the vehicle which is sitting 90 degrees to the axis of the engine crankshaft.

The vehicle/boat accelerates away as rapidly as possible and the engine is started!

1st Jul 2001, 16:45
Just like "starting" those old lawnmowers or outbords, eh?... Itīs just a piston-engine after all, gotta get it to turn somehow...

1st Jul 2001, 23:51
Scan, for the DC-3, you need about fifty feet of 1" rope. Tuck about six inches of rope lengthwise along the dome and beginning at the front, wind rope over the dome and the little end in one smooth continuous coil, no overlapping, 'till you reach the base of the prop blades. (The little end underneath prevents slippage). The rope has to come off the top for the right, and off bottom of the dome for the left engine.
Tie the other end to the commandeered vehicle, making sure it is very taut and does not traverse propeller plane of rotation. Set up the cockpit controls as for a normal start, give her a couple shots of prime and signal for the vehicle to drive off slowly. I seem to recall you get about eight or ten blades before the rope runs off the end of the dome, so just before the rope runs off, hit the mags and you're in business. If no vehicle is available, there will be enough men and small boys watching the spectacle to replace it. :)
The above procedure works for the single Otter as well.
Pick it, don't know about the Grummans, but you could start the PBY using the opposite engine starter. There are no obstructions between the engines on the PBY, and you could run the rope between the props, off the top of the domes to start one side and off the bottom for the other. It's a pain to set up properly, but beats the hell out of sitting in the boonies being eaten by flies. :)

[This message has been edited by pigboat (edited 01 July 2001).]

old pick it her
2nd Jul 2001, 02:36

Thanks for your great elucidation on the subject.

Looking at your profile I see you are from Canada and most likely flew one of the many corporate 'bush' airplanes one sees there and which explains your knowledge of this little known procedure.

Are you also a PBY water bomber pilot? If so, my respect goes out to you!

Actually my respect goes out anyhow...


evil airman
2nd Jul 2001, 19:20
As I recall from when I flew Daks out of Rand Airport RSA, we carried a 75 foot long hemp rope with a hook neatly woven into the end. The hook was designed to fit around one blade, giving a secure anchor for the line. We landed often in remote places, and a starter failure was thusly guarded against. This operator is still in business, and operates turbine equipment out of Smuts, in BA livery. Best of luck to them.

shake rattle n roll
2nd Jul 2001, 20:56
Wonder if you could use camels?

3rd Jul 2001, 04:57

Glad you never had to use it. Rule number one of bush maintenance is never attach anything to a propellor blade. Ever. It should come free but if it doesn't. Oh Dear!

Through difficulties to the hospital

3rd Jul 2001, 05:35
I have this picture in my head of this Landy being winched backwards towards the DC3s engine as it catches, belching the usual gobs of smoke :) Murphy lives.
But then as the man said if youre stuck in some of the worlds less salubrious territory, I'd give it a go.

3rd Jul 2001, 06:45
Pick it, no, I never flew the water bomber, just the pax/freight version for one season in the sixties.

Gaunty, how about when the @#$& rope breaks, the lose end flails around and rips off the ADF sense antennas? :)

3rd Jul 2001, 06:54

Ever tried to hand prop a DC-3?
(I have not, but been close once or twice)

I have heard about guys taking a prop blade over their shoulder and start walking.

Because of the 2-1 gearing, ya get twice the cranck shaft speed and may get ignition.

However: Kids don't try this at home... :)

Uh, yes, been stuck in the bush a few times with a dead -3. Know all about by passing the electrical system and strapping a fork lift battery to the cockpit floor.

Good old days..

Men, this is no drill...

3rd Jul 2001, 11:24
Dunno about fixed wing, but a section of Aussie diggers push-started a Blackhawk once.Sitting around being bored, aircrew convinced said grunts that they could start the Blackhawk "if they were man enough". What grunt could refuse? So, diggers place themselves around the aircraft, push like b*ggery and get it rolling along on the wheels. At that moment the pilots pulse the brakes and hit the APU. Voila. One section of v proud diggers who no doubt are still telling yarns about the day they push started a Blackhawk.

clear in live

3rd Jul 2001, 15:12
Bwah ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!

Oh christ, I larfed & I larfed.

What next? Tow starting a Herc?


As for real prop swings, I watched a LAME hand start the C402 I was in, in 35deg in Bourke. I had the easy bit, sitting in the cockpit.

Ever thankful to the chap concerned.

3rd Jul 2001, 17:08
Well there was the time I had just despatched one of our Navajos in the long ago, when one of those people you see hanging over the fence remarked,
"I s'pose thats why aircraft are so expensive then!"
on asking "why"?
"Coz getting the power from the engine down the legs to the wheel through that thin shiny bit must take some engineering?"

I gets worse, Wife No 1 at dinner party with bunch of pirates discussing recent incident and issues regarding the departure of the propellor from the left engine disappearing into the blue and rotating into a hover whilst waiting for the aircraft to catch up and be smote by it directly over the cockpit....Breaks into conversation with the observation,
"well whats the big deal it's only there to keep the engine cool" :) Divorce followed shortly thereafter.

3rd Jul 2001, 19:44
Well, don't laugh boys, but there once was a guy that did a dead-stick take off:

He was stuck on a glacier slope on a mountain in Alaska with a dead engine: Just let the plane slide downhill over the cliff and in the following free fall he had flying speed and voila glided down or windmilled the engine to a start. (The details are a bit fuzzy here as the first thing to go is yer memory as ya get older, the second thing, uh, I don't remember...)

At any rate, true story for sure.
(Think his name was Don Sheldon???)

Men, this is no drill...