Marius_S

Starting engines

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After following the two tutorials, I decided to try a flight on my own. I configured the plane as cold and dark and followed the normal procedures in the POH to power it up. I had selected realistic start up for engines, but I could not get them started. I know I have missed a thing or two, but I can't figure it out. With realistic start off, I have no problem getting them to start. 

Before start, I have the main fuel selectors set to on, throttle about 1/4 inch open and mixtures off. I crank the starter, wait 12 seconds and then turn the magnetos to both and the boost pump to low. According to the POH, the engine should now start, and I should the mixture to rich after that. I also tried the primer without that working. To make sure I did not miss any step, I also let the AFE do the before start procedures. (I did notice that my flight engineer leaves the mixture at auto rich and the magnetos set to both. I'm quite sure the mixture should be off until the engine fires up, or...?)

I have not seen anyone else reporting any problem, so I know this is an error on my part. I'm hoping someone could tell me what I'm doing wrong here.

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Your method might need a little tweaking.  First, throttle position:  I use the rivets and line the front of the levers with the rear edge of the rivets.  A good spot is to set 1000 RPM when engines are warm and note that as a good starting position for throttles.  Second, don't use the clock to time events.  Start the crank, turn on primer, on blade count six turn mags to both on and by count 12 turn on mag boost. As soon as the engine comes alive bring mixture up to auto rich.  Once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature.

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I am starting as follows

Before starting.

Engine to be startred

Put mixture to Auto rich

Ingition to Both

Engine selector to engine to be started

Boost pump to low

Prime, Start and then boost

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Lol. I go...

Start.  After 6 blades, prime.  After 12, boost and mags on.   Engine catches, mixture auto rich.  

Works every time. 

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8 hours ago, Olympic260 said:

I am starting as follows

Before starting.

Engine to be startred

Put mixture to Auto rich

Ingition to Both

Engine selector to engine to be started

Boost pump to low

Prime, Start and then boost

I'm not a big fan of turning the mags on before cranking.  You want to have at least three blades before anything catches just to make sure you don't have a hydraulic issue in one of the cylinders.  Also, along with the POH, I think prime shouldn't start until the engine is cranking.  The boost pump on the other hand can be turned on low before cranking.

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The radial piston engine is of course a 4-stroke engine. To really avoid a hydraulic lock you need at least two compleet turns on the engines meaning six blades. If you check multiple movies clips on starting the R2800's it is mostly counting twelve blades before turning on the mags.

regards Ronald

 

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8 hours ago, RonnieDuck said:

The radial piston engine is of course a 4-stroke engine. To really avoid a hydraulic lock you need at least two compleet turns on the engines meaning six blades. If you check multiple movies clips on starting the R2800's it is mostly counting twelve blades before turning on the mags.

regards Ronald

 

Interesting but not sure I follow. You only need 2 of the 4 "strokes" or one complete crankshaft rotation to verify the piston is free.  I don't expect it to make a difference if you do this during a compression stroke or not, seems to me that even with a valve open if there is a cylinder full of oil you are not going to pull her through a rotation.  Mags on after six blades, mag boost after 12 is the recommended procedure but after three blades you don't have hydraulic lock concerns.  This comes from the DC6 pilots we had on the team.

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9 hours ago, downscc said:

Interesting but not sure I follow. You only need 2 of the 4 "strokes" or one complete crankshaft rotation to verify the piston is free.  I don't expect it to make a difference if you do this during a compression stroke or not, seems to me that even with a valve open if there is a cylinder full of oil you are not going to pull her through a rotation.  Mags on after six blades, mag boost after 12 is the recommended procedure but after three blades you don't have hydraulic lock concerns.  This comes from the DC6 pilots we had on the team.

I shall watch the DC-6 start movie again. 

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2 hours ago, RonnieDuck said:

I shall watch the DC-6 start movie again. 

The movie might reveal how many blades before it fires but unless the camera is in the cockpit you don't know when what is happening.

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1 hour ago, downscc said:

The movie might reveal how many blades before it fires but unless the camera is in the cockpit you don't know when what is happening.

 

It is in the cockpit!

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1 hour ago, RonnieDuck said:

I shall watch the DC-6 start movie again. 

Put a link to that movie your watching please.

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I managed to get Engine 3 going - but engine 4 catches and does not stay lit - not sure what I have done!!

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34 minutes ago, AirCanada235 said:

I managed to get Engine 3 going - but engine 4 catches and does not stay lit - not sure what I have done!!

Feul selectors open, pump switch on LOW. start selector on #4, start by blade 3 a click on the prime. Blade 6 another click on the prime. nr 9 boost and prime, 12 magneto on. when engine catches, mixture from cut-off to auto rich. Works every time for me!

 

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44 minutes ago, AirCanada235 said:

I managed to get Engine 3 going - but engine 4 catches and does not stay lit - not sure what I have done!!

I go:

  1. Engine selector to X
  2. Fuel pump for X to low
  3. Mixture Auto Lean
  4. Throttles forward slightly
  5. starter & safety on, followed by primer on straight away
  6. At 6 blades, ignition to both
  7. Between 6 and 12 blades, boost on (normally straight after ignition to both)
  8. When it catches, be ready on the throttles, they may require a little bump forward or back.
  9. Once the engine has caught and is settled, mixture to auto rich.

Never failed to start an engine yet.

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1 hour ago, PMDG777 said:

I go:

  1. Engine selector to X
  2. Fuel pump for X to low
  3. Mixture Auto Lean
  4. Throttles forward slightly
  5. starter & safety on, followed by primer on straight away
  6. At 6 blades, ignition to both
  7. Between 6 and 12 blades, boost on (normally straight after ignition to both)
  8. When it catches, be ready on the throttles, they may require a little bump forward or back.
  9. Once the engine has caught and is settled, mixture to auto rich.

Never failed to start an engine yet.

Makes sense to me but was following the checklist from the POH verbatim. After trying a few different combos (mixture auto lean) I got them all going but not the way it's written by the manufacturer. 

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4 minutes ago, AirCanada235 said:

Makes sense to me but was following the checklist from the POH verbatim. After trying a few different combos (mixture auto lean) I got them all going but not the way it's written by the manufacturer. 

Yeah I couldn't get them to start using the PMDG checklist either. I had to put mixture to Auto lean before starting and tweaked the timing and now they start first time every time

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Has it occurred to anybody else how completely realistic it is that there are so many variations on how to get the engines started? What works for Dan Downs doesn't necessarily work for Chris Brand or Dave Robertson, and different techniques have evolved organically. I'm already looking for signs that each of the four engines on my 6 has a different start technique that works best -- Yesterday, I used the PMDG checklist for 3, 4, and 2, with no problems, but 1 took three tries. It finally started when I waited a second longer to switch on the boost pump (missed the click spot and had to try again). I wonder how my start technique will change as the engines get more time on them.

This thing is brilliant. 

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1 minute ago, Yoda967 said:

Has it occurred to anybody else how completely realistic it is that there are so many variations on how to get the engines started? What works for Dan Downs doesn't necessarily work for Chris Brand or Dave Robertson, and different techniques have evolved organically. I'm already looking for signs that each of the four engines on my 6 has a different start technique that works best -- Yesterday, I used the PMDG checklist for 3, 4, and 2, with no problems, but 1 took three tries. It finally started when I waited a second longer to switch on the boost pump (missed the click spot and had to try again). I wonder how my start technique will change as the engines get more time on them.

This thing is brilliant. 

I think the engines take into account everything about the atmosphere around them so every start is different, sometimes they'll fire up instantly, the next they'll need coaxing to start. Certainly makes for an interesting aircraft

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30 minutes ago, Yoda967 said:

Has it occurred to anybody else how completely realistic it is that there are so many variations on how to get the engines started? What works for Dan Downs doesn't necessarily work for Chris Brand or Dave Robertson, and different techniques have evolved organically. I'm already looking for signs that each of the four engines on my 6 has a different start technique that works best -- Yesterday, I used the PMDG checklist for 3, 4, and 2, with no problems, but 1 took three tries. It finally started when I waited a second longer to switch on the boost pump (missed the click spot and had to try again). I wonder how my start technique will change as the engines get more time on them.

This thing is brilliant. 

Definitely something the DC-6 dev team added in to add in some realism.

I think there's some meta-realism in here, too. A lot of people are new to the concept of aviation's early days. Back then, we didn't have all of the technology to monitor the aircraft that we have today. As such, they really didn't have a solid data set to evaluate various procedures against each other. Out of that came a number of different procedures that are used to start the engines, simply because someone found something that worked and taught it to them, and it grew organically (again, partially due to the lack of "this is statistically better than that"). Additionally, you'll likely find a ton of what many would consider old wives' tales about what to do and what not to do, and a pseudoscientific answer as to why or why not. The cool bit is seeing the varied procedures that people have recommended here, as it echoes the real world, where if you were to ask the same question of a few different 6 drivers, you're likely to get at least a couple variations.

With modern jets, there are some minor variations in SOPs within the same model of aircraft, but I think the 6 takes it a bit further, since things were somewhat more of an art than a precise science back then. Heck, use the 'no GPS' option and go back and look at your flight track. Someone familiar with /A flying will draw some nice lines, like a practiced artist. Someone dependent on /G technology might draw precise lines with it, but if it's removed, those lines could end up being quite messy. Now, it's all precision and very little art. Back then, there was a lot of 'art' involved, and that resulted in some pretty varied procedures.

...but that's not to get lost in the romanticism of the past. Accidents were a lot more frequent back then, and part of the reason for that was the lack of precision (and human factors...have you seen the 6's flight deck???). As the 6 has hopefully shown people - flying was a lot of work back then. Turn the GPS off, too, and you'll quickly see how flying was a lot of being in the dark about your exact position, too. Even with cross radials, the margin of error in your position was a lot higher, and until you look it up, it's pretty ambiguous. With GPS and a moving map, it's just a quick glance away.

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4 minutes ago, scandinavian13 said:

Definitely something the DC-6 dev team added in to add in some realism.

I think there's some meta-realism in here, too. A lot of people are new to the concept of aviation's early days. Back then, we didn't have all of the technology to monitor the aircraft that we have today. As such, they really didn't have a solid data set to evaluate various procedures against each other. Out of that came a number of different procedures that are used to start the engines, simply because someone found something that worked and taught it to them, and it grew organically (again, partially due to the lack of "this is statistically better than that"). Additionally, you'll likely find a ton of what many would consider old wives' tales about what to do and what not to do, and a pseudoscientific answer as to why or why not. The cool bit is seeing the varied procedures that people have recommended here, as it echoes the real world, where if you were to ask the same question of a few different 6 drivers, you're likely to get at least a couple variations.

With modern jets, there are some minor variations in SOPs within the same model of aircraft, but I think the 6 takes it a bit further, since things were somewhat more of an art than a precise science back then. Heck, use the 'no GPS' option and go back and look at your flight track. Someone familiar with /A flying will draw some nice lines, like a practiced artist. Someone dependent on /G technology might draw precise lines with it, but if it's removed, those lines could end up being quite messy. Now, it's all precision and very little art. Back then, there was a lot of 'art' involved, and that resulted in some pretty varied procedures.

...but that's not to get lost in the romanticism of the past. Accidents were a lot more frequent back then, and part of the reason for that was the lack of precision (and human factors...have you seen the 6's flight deck???). As the 6 has hopefully shown people - flying was a lot of work back then. Turn the GPS off, too, and you'll quickly see how flying was a lot of being in the dark about your exact position, too. Even with cross radials, the margin of error in your position was a lot higher, and until you look it up, it's pretty ambiguous. With GPS and a moving map, it's just a quick glance away.

How did the operating documents from back then compare with now? Nowadays literally everything is documented and hand holds a pilot through it. I know we have the DC-6 POH but I'm not sure how accurate that is to real life?

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18 minutes ago, PMDG777 said:

How did the operating documents from back then compare with now? Nowadays literally everything is documented and hand holds a pilot through it. I know we have the DC-6 POH but I'm not sure how accurate that is to real life?

I think a lot of it was taken directly from one (note the odd/antiquated terminology in it, here and there). There are a few old military versions (C-118) floating around out there that you can probably track down.

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11 hours ago, PMDG777 said:

Yeah I couldn't get them to start using the PMDG checklist either. I had to put mixture to Auto lean before starting and tweaked the timing and now they start first time every time

According to the manual (POH page 166) this should not be done:

The engines should be started using the priming system only, the mixture controls being moved out of “IDLE CUT-OFF” after the engines start firing.

And:

The engines should not be started with the mixture controls out of “IDLE CUTOFF.”

Also I don´t see the randomness in starting. The engines always catches at the moment when "12 Blades" are called, regardless when in the starting sequence I turn on the primer, magnetos and boost coil, or at which outside temperature (Have tried at both +45° and ÷15°C). I would have expect that the engine would start sometimes at 10 or sometimes at 15 blades i.e premature or post the "12 Blade" call.

If I fail to move the mixture out of Cut-off before or right after "12 Blades" are called, then the engine won´t start (That might be why some of You have troubles starting the engines without having the mixture at Cut-off).

There is also no sign of spark plug fouling - but maybe the DC-6B was not affected by this ?

At least I can run the engines at idle until the tanks run dry.

The props though, do stop at random positions.

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I have the same observations. Once you get the hang of it, the engines will always start in the same way. No 'wait.. wait.. ok, one more primer shot..wait.', if you follow what's working for you, it will always work.
It would be nice if PMDG could state what's behind the engine (and engine start) simulation, so we as users know what we can expect from it. Is it a true dynamic calculation, taking every variable into account? Or is it needed to fulfill certain items in the correct order? Can we flood the engine? Can we foul the plugs?

Some more in-depth feature descriptons would help both sides, users and devs, to understand the limitations and see if it could be a bug, it could be the user, or it is just not simulated (but the user expects it, because he is familiar with.. eh.. the other addons).

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