getting the prop to spin

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    How do you “Gentlemen[and women] start your engines”?

    Flip by hand, starter held in hand, starter on the ground, starter on a stand?

    Glo driver, clip attached to power panel, big battery with lead?

    I’m just getting into power again and would like to get some ideas. At this time I’m not using a bladder.


    I am old and wussified. I don’t ever want to reach around a propellor again.
    I use a box-mounted starter on a stand. That way I don’t need to bend over or get that spinning fan too close to the ground.
    For glow plugs, I really like the power panel hooked to a 12v battery. It has a meter to indicate a shot plug and you can adjust it to different plugs.
    If you use APC props, be sure to sand the edged lightly with some 220 grit paper. You can shave with them as they come, you don’t want your finger sliding down them. One of the worst cuts I’ve ever gotten came from one and I was just flipping it over, not trying to start it.


    I’ve never had a problem hand starting but;
    a) I’ve never flown anything much over a .15.
    b) When I put folding props on my F1Cs I bought a starter.

    For plain bearing engines I still prefer to hand start, especially TD 049. They are somewhat fragile engines, and a starter removes that essential element of feel.

    When I went down to Lost Hills in May with my Vintage FAI models I was still hand starting (Super Tigre G15) – Dave Rounsaville thought I was mad!

    What Dan says about APC props is right on, though, I’ve cut myself exactly the way he described. A battery with a meter is good advice, too.



    I’ve customarily hand-started anything from TD.010 to McCoy .60. Curiously, most of my scars are from small engines…

    I do have a box starter … the power panel is an asset, for sure .. which I use on occasion but .. not always. I would never offer a diesel to it, they’re 100% handstart items

    G15’s, John? No problem .. .19 and .23 also.

    APC trailing edges are deadly!


    Thanks guys!

    I have already found out how sharp the APC’s are on those small props, no cuts, just an early observation! Those small ones are much sharper than larger ones. I’ve always sanded props for r/c use even though I only rarely hand start them, bad handling can cut, yup!

    Dan, How do you keep the higher mounted starter from being pushed over, line and stakes?


    Hey Dennis. If you can set me up with a Hooker, I can reveal the secret!

    i have 4 legs of one inch aluminum tubing that set into brackets on the box. The rear legs angle back about 20 degrees. (?) It’s all eyeball reckoning design. I can start a KB 6.5 with it no problem. It just sits on the ground. Works fine on pavement also.
    There might be a view of it in the recent Model Aviation.
    I first saw a stand up rig in use by Russ Snyder. Good enough for him, good enough for me. Russ was a BIG advocate of never reaching around a prop. Watching my brother, who only has the use of one arm, reach around his ukie stunter scares the daylights out of me.

    What are ya getting ready to fly?

    Dean McGinnes


    All the comments are great except they all did not point out the one glaring thing you said in your opening statement: not using a bladder!
    I have heard all the arguments which run the gamut but all point toward “wanting to keep things simple.” 😯

    Hard tanks and suction feed DO NOT KEEP THINGS SIMPLE!!! You will be fighting unsteady needle settings, uneven runs, and inconsistent starts. 😯

    Unless of course you are running diesels which do quite well on suction.

    Small engines can be easily hand started on bladders, and the larger ones are a piece of cake with a starter. Once you cross the line and use a starter, a bladder tank is the only way.

    Go to Hank Nystrom’s website: and fix yourself up with what you need. Lee Campbell and others also sell fittings.

    I have been through this with numerous others, and they all thank me and wonder why they didn’t switch to bladders sooner. 🙂 🙂


    Agreed. Have been using bladders with glows for maybe 35 years or more, only way to go no matter how one starts the mill


    I tossed a Mini Pearl in the air last week and it’s still capable of flight this weekend. I plan on having a Country Boy for next year as well as a vintage FAI power plane. Both of those will be using bladders. That’s my re-entry into power. I also have a second F1h and F1a to build, not to forget another BtV and P-30.

    I see Dan’s stand in MA and Larry’s too. This will take a little thought. I’ve also seen the small flip open box and the simple “tripod’ that Bucky uses. All I can do until something’s made is to fly!


    I did fly today!
    On Friday I was running the motor during the afternoon, getting used to it. I did notice that each time it ran, it was different and required playing with the needle.

    On the way to the field I decided to make a bladder and maybe get a flight in with it. Bladder made and after several loads of fuel in it, still not running, this is going to be fun! I did happen to have a hemostat with me!
    I just didn’t have enough hands even with TomV holding and operating the starter. One reason is because I have to hold an electronic DT timer to keep it from running down while I get the motor running.

    I can certainly see where a mounted starter would have made life easier. Once I make a small clamp/whatever to positively turn on/off the flow of fuel I’ll be happier too!

    I ended up using suction but I got 7 flights in and the plane is climbing up nicely even if one run is better than another.


    >Once I make a small clamp/whatever to positively turn on/off the flow of fuel I’ll be happier too

    I just use fingertip pressure on the fuel line .. but .. I don’t have a running timer to contend with.


    Dennis – glad to hear you flew today…I bashed up my Gambler, but that’s another story….

    Does the group feel that a Starter could be used, even on small .049 or .020 motors…? I’d love to save 5-10 minutes of flipping by hand, which feels like eternity, BTW.

    When flipping, I use a heavy leather gardening glove to minimize the chances of cuts. Seems to work…!!


    Dennis, pressure is the way to go.
    Your immediate inconsistency could be some clogs if that engines been sitting. Needle valve or orifice could have dried fuel.
    A fixed starter and a foot-switch make it a LOT easier.

    Chuck, lots of guys start the TDs with a starter. A caveat: don’t leave it in the starter for a long time. Start it off a prime with a short ‘bump’ into the starter. The TDs have a phenolic washer behind the prop driver. That’s all there is for rearward pressure. If you’re not careful, you can wind up pushing the crank pin into the backplate.


    Dan — any chance of posting a picture of your “stand-up starter” rig? I am building a starter/stand and would like to see what it looks like. We can’t get MA up here in Canada and, now, apparently we can’t get Flying Models either. (I finally broke down and sent them the $50 for a subscription!)


    Not impossible to do. I don’t have any pics. I might manage some tonite.
    It holds a battery,2 starters,power panel and fuel. Not much to it, really.

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