View Full Version : Are Turbines Ruining Aviation?

I. M. Esperto
4th Oct 2002, 11:10
Are Turbines Ruining Aviation?

We gotta get rid of turbines, they are ruining aviation.

We need to go back to big round engines.

Anybody can start a turbine, you just need to move a switch from "OFF"
to "START," and then remember to move it back to "ON" after a while. My
PC is harder to start.

Cranking a round engine requires skill, finesse and style. On some
planes, the pilots are not even allowed to do it.

Turbines start by whining for a while, then give a small lady-like poot
and start whining louder.

Round engines give a satisfying rattle-rattle, click-click BANG, more
rattles, another BANG, a big macho fart or two, more clicks, a lot of
smoke and finally a serious low pitched roar.

We like that. It's a guy thing.

When you start a round engine, your mind is engaged and you can
concentrate on the flight ahead. Starting a turbine is like flicking on
a ceiling fan: Useful, but hardly exciting.

Turbines don't break often enough, leading to aircrew boredom,
complacency and inattention. A round engine at speed looks and sounds
like it's going to blow at any minute.

This helps concentrate the mind.

Turbines don't have enough control levers to keep a pilot's attention.

There's nothing to fiddle with during the flight.

Turbines smell like a Boy Scout camp full of Coleman lanterns. Round
engines smell like God intended flying machines to smell.

I think I hear the nurse coming down the hall. I gotta go.

Ex-round engine driver.

4th Oct 2002, 12:17
Heh, heh. Very good! Like they say - "Jets are for kids!"

Time for your medication, Mr Esperto........

But - It's a guy thing? Are there no lady recip drivers out there??

5th Oct 2002, 01:44
Hmph ... propellors are for boats! :)

5th Oct 2002, 01:50
ok, i'm not a lady but...

I thought for a while that radials were only good for noise.
I'm even not sure about this statement (ask my left ear).

Now, after reading I. M. Esperto post, I may change my mind :D

Ex-medium round engines driver.

5th Oct 2002, 01:53
Thanks for that, I.M. LMAO. Plus, there ain't nothing nicer after the last flight of the day than sitting behind a 1340 or 985 smelling the burnt oil, doing the books and listening to the tink, clink of the beastie cooling down.
There is one big but though. Of a frosty morning, it's nice to jump into the seat and just fire the turbine up without resorting to Herman Nelson, blowpots, or having to burn off dilution.:D

6th Oct 2002, 02:12
Geez I must have lost the plot cos our 1340s are simple to start, ( when in doubt , simply pour in a few more liters ) , need 20 minutes warm-up , are too bloody loud , slow and have the worlds least reliable mags and generators so somewhere in there I fell out of love whereas the PT6 needs some level of thought to start as we hold in the starter , turn on ignitors , add the fuel and watch the temps climb which gets your attention then simply taxi and fly.

But I could be wrong!

Capt Homesick
10th Oct 2002, 18:41
Personally, the noise of a starting turbine is one of my favourite sounds..... :)

big pistons forever
11th Oct 2002, 00:25
I am with I.M. Esperto. I figure one day soon I will have to trade in the manly art of running a big recip in favor of a stinky whiny turbine, but I intend to hang on to the bitter end. After all there is a reason General Electric did not get into the aircraft engine business untill you could turn them on with the flick of a switch ;) . Come on guys don't you secretly long for the good old days when round engines ruled the skies, sex was safe and it was flying that required all the real risk management.:D

Lu Zuckerman
11th Oct 2002, 01:05
GE designed, developed and produced most of the turbo superchargers used on many big recips. It was the development of the turbo supercharger that lead to the development of their first jet.

Cornish Jack
11th Oct 2002, 11:30
They also had the possible advantage that, at a favoured night stop location, an extra night stop could be 'engineered' by taxying with one mag switch selected OFF. Used to give an excellent mag drop on the run up. Not that we ever used such a ploy, of course!
Ah the nostalgia of four Centaurii in Beverley cruise mode - What's that? Sorry I can't hear you! :D

14th Oct 2002, 15:43
They could sure be ruining classic aviation; can you imagine anyone having the funds to run an F-16 as a private warbird???

That's even if the authorities would let 'em!

14th Oct 2002, 19:27
On another board, someone mentions that this year is the 50th anniversary of the DH Otter. Another poster remarks that if there are any ceremonies to observe that event, the participants will all be standing around shouting, "What?":D

brain fade
17th Oct 2002, 02:03
How can anything which blows up, siezes, overheats, self destructs, bursts into flames leaks (and swallies) oil, belches flame and fire be described as better than a turbine?
Guess it depends on where you are standing.
happiness is a hot SBF!:cool:

Chuck Ellsworth
17th Oct 2002, 03:15
Well Brain fade:

How about a Super Connie starting its engines, or a Lancaster doing a low fly by with a full power pull up?

Know any turbines that can match those sounds?:D

Lu Zuckerman
17th Oct 2002, 12:56
To: brain fade

Your description pretty much fits the description of some gas turbines.


Shaggy Sheep Driver
18th Oct 2002, 14:09
Someone I know, on witnessing a Yak start-up from outside described it as 'biblical' - lots of noise, lots of smoke, the earth shaking, and the smiting of lesser objects. From inside, it's a 3-handed work of art to coax that big 360 Vendeneyev radial into life, and get it to become self-sustaining.

Once it's running, it sounds just glorious - a syncopated combination of many rhythms. The nine pistons thrashing up and down in that strange order only radial engines have; the prop-drive reduction gears rumbling; that massive 11 foot paddle prop beating the air at about half engine speed; the supercharger's muted but high-pitched whistle as it spins at a phenomenal rate; the un-silenced drainpipe-sized exhaust outlets. On top of this there is the cam ring, valve gear, magnetos, generator, various pumps, the prop governor, air compressor, and several other ancillaries all adding to the beautiful cacophony.

Love it!!


19th Oct 2002, 03:01
Bit off topic, but at the behest of the US Navy, DHC at one time came up with a version of the DHC 3 called the Quiet Otter. The normally very noisy aircraft was equipped with a five bladed prop, with the hub coming from a Sea Fury and the blades being specially constructed of wood. The exhaust extractor tubes were removed, and replaced with with narrow exhaust pipes that were connected to two huge automotive type mufflers hanging on either side of the fuselage just behind the cockpit. The tail pipes extended back to the cargo door. Later, the mufflers were relocated to the cabin, making the aircraft quieter yet.
The test pilot stated that it was really weird, sitting on the ground in a normally loud airplane, listening to the internal moving parts inside the engine. You could hear the gears, pistons, tappets and connecting rods clicking and tapping merrily away. Normally, these sounds were masked by combustion and propeller noises.

23rd Oct 2002, 19:22
You could go to "The Official A-1 Skyraider site",turn up the volume and frighten the neighbours with a Wright 3350 starting.:D :D :D

23rd Oct 2002, 21:23
And the link for that would be???? :D :D :D

Personally I never really minded getting up early during the weekends just so I could get my head close up to a running R-2600!

24th Oct 2002, 01:23
The main site is www.skyraider.org/ . There's another that is accessible from that one, with some radio transcripts from SAR missions. Didn't hear any engine starts, though.

big pistons forever
24th Oct 2002, 02:42

The A1 start is in the video clips section. The only problem is I could not get any sound when the clip ran, what a tease:mad:

I don't care what some of the stink pipe defenders say , there is a reason there are no video clips of jet engines starting:D

24th Oct 2002, 10:40
The sound of the R3350 starting is actually on the main page of the site. From the video clips page go back one. Indeed the videos are silent, but the images still look great.

24th Oct 2002, 11:55
Shaggy Sheep Driver ah yes, the YAK!!

Too long ago, when I was working for dear old Sir Arthur Marshall at Cambridge, I used to spend the odd day filling in for our refuel guy if it was his day off.

Now, one day, in comes the YAK-11 from Duxford (they didn't have any fuel there back then) for a fillup. Pilot comes to see me and asks for chocks, 'cause his pneumatic brake system had a leak - OK once the engine was running, but just needed something for whilst he was parked. So, I dig out a set of manky wooden chocks, which was all we had.

Filled it up, and he hopped back in, and started her. After a short runup, he gives me the signal, and I move in along the left wing very carefully because this beast has a very short nose. Give the rope a tug, and it snaps clean off at the chock (It was rotten!)

So now, I have to move in around the mainwheel, and kick it out backwards! By now, fortunately, brake pressure is building, and she doesn't swing around.....

Go to the starboard side, and more gently this time, pull on the rope - but by now, that big old donk has managed to drive the A/C hard against the remaining chock - rope comes off again! So, once more, with a gawd-knows-how-big prop whizzing round inches from my @rse, kick the other chock away!

After that, we had some new chocks made................

25th Oct 2002, 02:38
BPF sure isn't a whole lot to see on a jet start, unless something goes wrong of course. We had an insurance audit once, and the auditors remarked about our tool crib. (Tool outlines painted on the wall) Told us the story about one of their investigations where someone did a power run on a Spey where the guy had forgotten a wrench in the jet intake. He said it corn cobbed the thing. The maintenance guys swore that they didn't know what had happened, but my guy said when they borescoped the engine, the first thing they saw was a piece of metal with Snap-on written on it. He told their guy he doubted RR was using Snap-on parts in their engines. That start must have been worth filming.:)
I think the sound of a Spey, up close and angry, turning expensive petroleum products into noise on a frosty morning worth mentioning though.:D

Cornish Jack
25th Oct 2002, 13:31
BPF and Pigboat
Certainly not much to get excited about AURALLY on a turbine start, but VISUALLY - well that's a whole different ball game. Just two instant examples spring to mind;
A Wessex Mk1 (or 3) doing an 'untidy' Avpin start :eek:
A pre-production Lynx doing ANY start - at least two fire engines in attendance - an unusual performance, to say the least, especially when topped off with the loss of a main rotor blade balance weight! :eek: :eek: - The shut down was very nearly as exciting. That the power plant carried the same name as a make of British safety razor blade used to raise some eyebrows! :D

Lu Zuckerman
25th Oct 2002, 15:11
Speaking about the starting of radial engines;

Many moons ago Sikorsky was conducting an upgrade program on HSS-1 (S-58) helicopters which required placing the engines (1820-84) in deep preservation. It took about one month for each helicopter to pass through the upgrade. It just so happened that one of the mechanics had a part time business selling pistachios from nickel vending machines. He started packaging the nuts in small bags selling them to his fellow workers. As the mechanics consumed the nuts they would throw the red shells on the work floor. The Forman told them he didnít mind them eating the nuts on the job but they had to dispose of the shells in a neater fashion or the nuts would be banned from the workshop.

The most convenient means of disposing of the shells was to pull the cover off of the exhaust stack and stuff the shells inside. This went on until the first helicopter was ready for a run-up and test flight. The fireguard stood in line with the exhaust stack and the pilots had difficulty in bringing the engine to life so they really primed the cylinders. When the engine finally came to life hot preservative oil and a lot of entrained pistachio shells flew out and covered the fireguard. Needless to say the pistachio seller had to clean the exhaust stacks of the remaining helicopters and he was banned from selling any more nuts on company property.

28th Oct 2002, 18:00
Pigboat wrote . . .

". . . there is a reason there are no video clips of jet engines starting"

Well, have you ever watched a Canberra start up? There are a few videos of such a thing, especially the USAF's B-57.

28th Oct 2002, 21:00
Cornish Jack
Wessex 3 was all airstart-wasn`t it?
Now,starting a WW7 was always good for a laugh,as you reached cartridge *6,on a strange airfield,hoping the safety-disc wouldn`t blow,or that someone may have a sixpence,if it did!!;) ;)

Cornish Jack
29th Oct 2002, 23:02
Spot on, sir! :o The parentheses were intended to convey fallible memory cells - (for Mk numbers). ;)
Does your handle indicate familiarity with its namesake and its propensity for ground resonance? Now that WAS visually exciting!!:eek:
Lu Zuckerman - do you think that tale was the instigator of the compressor cleaning method of using walnut (?) shells ??

2nd Nov 2002, 18:58
Cornish Jack
Certainly did,at CFS,early`60`s;had to be careful on landing on tarmac in dispersal,as the tyres would come off the rims unless you went fwd. as the oleos went down-ripe set-up for resonance in front of the `goofer`s in the `headless` hangar.If you couldn`t hack it you had to go back,land on the grass ,and call for an instructor to put you back on the spot,so to speak-ah ,the ignominy of it!! Then there were `jump` t/o`s,overspeed the RRPM,then pull-in full lever and hope you got t/lift,otherwise you ended up doing a running landing,with decaying RRPM,bouncing along-which leads to-----? g/resonance.Wonderful times.:) :)
Gone off-thread a bit-back to real engines;
Occasionally I`m privileged to fly a large Naval bomber,which is pulled along by a mighty Wright,which can be a bit tricky to start if you dont get the right combination of prime-throttle,blades- magnetoes-prime,etc,etc,until it`s all running smoothly,on all
fourteen cylinders..Smoothest radial-Centaurus`;best sounding in-line DB-601( SHAME-wot no Merlin),ok,probably a tie!
Others,Gipsy Queens,in a Rapide,on a summer Sunday morning;
or for something really different; a 2-litre ERA , a 6-cyl. 250 cc Honda racer going down 6 gears; a V-8 500ccMoto-Guzzi,or finally a Garratt 4+8+4, with the regulator wide open!! Sheer mechanical mellifluicity(mellifluosity?)- I think you get my drift- sounds that make your neck tingle-perhaps the last sounds one would like to hear when our turn comes- along with " Oh, I have slipped..........";) ;)