View Full Version : Ever had to push start your plane?

Check Airman
29th Sep 2008, 21:13
The great heave forward... Chinese passengers are forced to get out and push their broken passenger plane

By John Garth (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=y&authornamef=John+Garth)
Last updated at 12:44 AM on 27th September 2008

Anyone who has ever used budget airlines know only too well how uncomfortable it can be: long queues, cramped seats and every tiny extra costs you.

But at least they are never told to get out and help push their plane.
That is exactly what happened to a group of passengers in China who were asked to get out and push after their plane broke down shortly after landing.

Enlarge http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/09/26/article-0-02CE35AE00000578-463_468x273.jpg (http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/09/26/article-0-02CE35AE00000578-463_468x273_popup.jpg) All together now: Passengers join airport staff to move the jet off the runway at Zhengzhou Airport

The Chinese Shandong airlines flight CRJ7 arrived safely at Zhengzhou from Guilin, but broke down before it could taxi to the passenger terminal.

Airport staff were called out to help push, but they had to ask some of the 69 passengers on board to help because the plane would not budge.

It took the group nearly two hours to shove the plane half a mile to a side lane.

One of the airport workers said: 'Thank God it was only a 20-ton medium-sized aeroplane. If it were a big plane, it would have knocked us out.'

The plane remained parked in the side lane on Friday night, waiting for technicians arriving on the next flight to fix the problem.

The great heave forward... Chinese passengers are forced to get out and push their broken passenger plane | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1062577/The-great-heave-forward---Chinese-passengers-forced-push-broken-passenger-plane.html#)

I guess the CRJ-700 has the nosewheel steering on the BLUE system:} This one is classic! Can't make this stuff up:D

29th Sep 2008, 21:24
That's not for real? Is it?
Wonder how much damage was caused by pushing the CRJ on it's trailing edge...

29th Sep 2008, 21:47
That's not for real? Is it?Yes, kind of...

29th Sep 2008, 22:01
In a Bombay newspaper ca. 1987:

Photo depicts a light helo with skids parked on a cart. Ground crew pushing the cart across the ramp.

Caption tells reader the helo is being "push started".


29th Sep 2008, 23:39
I arrived at work one cold frosty morning to find the foreman of the construction gang that were doing building work shaking his head in disbelief. He had caught the men towing the cement mixer round and around the site behind the van. He asked them WTF they were doing and they explained that the mixer wouldn't start and so they had been trying to tow-start it . . .

30th Sep 2008, 02:07
That's got to be BS doesn't it ?

rather than have a million people pushing on the TRAILING edge of the wing, why wouldn't they have got ANY vehicle with a rope attached to the nose gear.

While I know it's not cool to do that, neither is pushing on the trailing edge of flaps etc.

Besides, how much push can be transferred from people pushing on something above head height.

it smells of a setup and not a very good one at that.

Loose rivets
30th Sep 2008, 05:37
This was bumped to somewhere I never go.


Twas quite a worry really, the passengers were well past caring and would have pushed the airplane home if I'd let them.

30th Sep 2008, 11:19
A "Windmill Taxy Start" in the early model Hercules C-130 could be termed a push start. If one had an engine starter refuse to proceed on one engine then all was not lost. With three turning and a reasonable runway length available it was possible to commence a take off roll on three and perform a windmilling start on the fourth by acting like a one armed paper hanger. As the fourth commenced its starting sequence an accelerate stop would be performed with all four now ready for the real take off.

30th Sep 2008, 11:29
Did all the pax have airfield passes?

30th Sep 2008, 13:25
When the Unlimited cross-country races were revived about 1964, a Mustang had a starter failure at a pit stop in Oklahoma.

No worries, mate, one humongous lineman said "climb in and I'll give you a prop". He successfully hand-propped the Merlin! :D

PS I have video of my father, then age 72 or so, hand-propping a Wasp Jr. :ok:

30th Sep 2008, 13:46
Remember in the early 60s as a schoolboy (school in UK home in Jersey) being asked with all other male pax to get out of a Dak at Eastleigh and push it out of the mud - grass field those days. Waterlogged field and large plugs of mud in front of the mainwheels. Got it moving again - pretty draughty pushing on the trailing edge of the wing with the engines opened up as much as they dared. I think we subsequently got airborne as the runway wasn't so much of a quagmire. Fortunately it was a BEA Pionair so had the integral airstairs.

30th Sep 2008, 13:49
I remember in the dying age of the Wessex choppers in Ireland an enterprising pilot asked a bunch of squaddies to 'bump start' his chopper!

As they pushed him along the runway he dabbed the brakes to simulate dropping the clutch and hit the starter tit.

Much frivolity was had at the expense of the now cheering squaddies as the beastie roared into life.

Life is full of little gems!

30th Sep 2008, 14:50
I've never push started it, but I have jump started one with my car :ok:

30th Sep 2008, 15:15
Ref Milt at #8, that was also tried with a BA 747 at Delhi years ago.

Broken starter motor, so a decision was made to start three engines and have a go down the runway to jump start the other. Luckily someone had the smarts to leave the passengers off, so the only damages were to sixteen brakes and the flight engineers career. Skipper found it a career limiting issue too I understand.

For info the flight manual suggests that inflight windmill starts are unlikely to be successful below around 240 kts.

Loose rivets
30th Sep 2008, 16:43
witnessed a DC3 being started with a rope wrapped around the tiny spinner, Yes, it worked, but was considered very norty. That spinner had some complex kit in it...and it also needed to point the way One was going!:}

Going back to the early 60s, but I remember an ARB question about starting a DC3. The answer was that you crank it outside and then mesh in the cockpit.

Made the lads larf that did.

(The starter handle went in the side of the engine I seem to remember, then cranking really just spun up the starter flywheel, which when meshed at some good RPM, would have enough energy to get over the first few compressions. You can see what it shouldn't be done with a little spinner!)

30th Sep 2008, 17:13
I seem to remember that roundabout 1971 the passengers pushed a Dan-Air Ambassador back when it taxied up the wrong track. There was a photo in the newspapers.

I have twice used a blowstart to get a DC8 going in up-country Angola. Once with an SU-20 and once with a MIG-23. Quite noisy and rocky with the afterburners going. This was in 1990.

BTW to all my fans. I sold the MGB 6 months ago.

30th Sep 2008, 18:17
I was a part of a two aircraft trip to an isolated airstrip in Canada, with very limited facilities, many years ago taking fishermen to a fishing lodge on one of the many fabulous fishing lakes in that region. I was flying a Jet Commander and a the other aircraft was a Lear 24. After landing at this airstrip we flew in float-planes to the actual fishing lodge.

After spending five days fishing we returned to the airstrip and loaded everybody up to go back to the US. We were loaded first and as I was taxing out the Lear crew called us on the radio requesting that we return. I turned around, we taxied back and I parked back next to them. My co-pilot got out and went over to see what the problem was. After conversing with the Lear crew for a short time he signaled me to shut down.

The starter shaft on the left engine of the Lear had sheared when they tried to start the engine, now they were stranded until a new shaft and a mechanic (engineer) could be flown in, which would take at least two days. My aircraft was full and therefore I could not accommodate any of their passengers. Of course the passengers on the Lear were raising hell claiming that 'had' to get back home.

So, the Lear pilot decided that we would try a 'blow' start. I fired up the Jet Commander and taxied it in front of the Lear. Then all the passengers pushed the Commander as close to the Lear a we could, no tugs, lining up my left engine with the Lear's left engine. Then on a pre arranged signal I went to full power and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally I was given the shut down signal.

Sure enough the left engine of the Lear was running. I had to refuel (for those that never flew Jet Commanders, you were considered minimum fuel on takeoff) and the Lear took off. I found out later that the highest RPM he could get was 6%, minimum for start on the CJ-610 was 10%. So he 'milked' the start and the engine had to be torn down for a hot start inspection.

But it worked I suppose. Personally I would have waited and gotten the shaft replaced. Hell, there was a nice hotel in town with a bar. :p

30th Sep 2008, 19:05
:ok:Interesting thread. About 12 years ago,we were in Pamplona,Spain. Having offloaded & ready to leave, for reasons that escape me, we were unable to get an engine started on a rather large 4 eng "Brit built turboprop".
A run down the runway and taxi back,(all with ATC approval, of course,) managed to get all 4 running and off back to STN.
Needs must as they say!

Soap Box Cowboy
30th Sep 2008, 19:12
Once whilst flying a Caravan, was parked in a tight spot so safer to push the aircraft a few feet. I wanted to push on the strut but the ramp guy was terrified to try and steer so had to try and push with all my force whilst bent over the nose gear. Ended up slipping and breaking my shoulder.

Since then was never allowed to tow an aircraft manually and there was always several ramp guys around when I was on the ramp :}

30th Sep 2008, 20:33
Wasn't there an occasion at Glasgow many years ago when the captain of a Shorts 360 asked his passengers to push the aircraft back from the stand as the handling agents couldn't provide a tug ? Regards Alan