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The Randy Sohn memorial airplane thread


Steve C.

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I wish I could find some information on the air-start cart the company I worked for in the early '70s bought. It was an Air Research model supposedly made to be able to start multiple engines simultaneously on the B58. We had started supporting jets with air starters and the Air Force was tired of lending us a cart.

Unlike the smaller Air Research units that had a centrifugal compressor and an annular combustion chamber, the type still common today and used both as an airborne APU and ground start cart, this one had a huge centrifugal compressor and six can combustion chambers. The parts guy found a good deal on it and the day it arrived I was assigned to get it running. It was about 4 times the size of the units we'd been borrowing from the Air Force.

I installed the batteries, and a line guy fueled it up. I pushed the start button and all he!! broke loose! It lit off with a lot of noise and a compressor stall or two and emitted a cloud of black smoke like an early B52. Once running it smoothed out but was very loud. In 20 minutes it half emptied the fuel tank.

Later that afternoon we used it on an Electra. When the start was initiated there was no pressure drop and the Electra's props spun like they were already running.

There was a box of combustion chamber end gaskets included with it and I soon discovered why. About every 10-20 starts it would blow one of the solid copper rings right out of one of the cans. The cans were arranged like the early jet engines with interconnecting tubes and a spark igniter in two of them. The tail pipe had a big box that turned the exhaust straight up to keep the cart from launch.

I've not been able to find a video of a B58 startup.

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14 minutes ago, mader656 said:

Seemed like a good place to re add my kids first flights.

Great experience for them.

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  • 1 month later...

Saw these pics on a FB page. l've seen both a B-17 and a B-24 in person but never realized the difference in size of the fuselages, how narrow the B-17 is or how tall the B-24.

B-17-G.thumb.jpg.f236c1875382f8868ac1a41fa67bb165.jpg

B-24J.thumb.jpg.9bec20c688ace77d7f7ecfaf05a86cdd.jpg

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I have been on both. Yes, I was surprised at how much roomier the B24 was compared to the B17. Crouching through the 24's bomb bay is a squeeze though.

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The damage those planes took and continued to fly or land is astounding, I will never be able to convey my gratitude to all those brave souls

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