Engine Starting: More complicated than a Tesla

You’re in the pilot’s seat, wearing a headset, ready to go.

From the right seat she explains that because it is a cold morning you’ll need a couple of strokes on the primer to pump a little extra fuel into the carburetor. Cold fuel doesn’t evaporate as easily as warm fuel so you need more of it. Make sure the primer dog is in its detent and won’t accidentally slide out during flight, flooding the engine.

She tells you to open your window and say, “Clear Prop!” You do.

She tells you to push on both toe brakes by tilting your feet forward on the rudder pedals and to hold the brakes.

She wants you to open the throttle a half-inch and to turn the key to the starter position. The engine roars to life. She says, “Reduce RPM to from 800 to 1,000.”

You look for the tachometer. She points out the gauge from among many instruments and says, “Flight instruments on the left, in front of the pilot. Engine instruments on the right.”

You push the throttle in to reduce power just like you did as a kid riding on Grandpa’s tractor. The engine roars louder.

She explains that controls on an airplane move in a logical way. If you want the engine to slow down, you pull back on the throttle. If you want to pull the nose up, you pull back on the wheel. If you want to roll left, you roll the wheel to the left. If you want to put the wheels down, you push the wheel-shaped landing gear control down. Same thing for trim controls, flaps and cowl-flaps.

You start to feel overwhelmed with all the details you need to memorize. You ask yourself, “Will I remember all of this the next lesson? How much of this could I have taught myself for a lot less money?”

At least the airplane has started to move…

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