The battery in the RV6 was dead this morning so I decided to give bungee starting a try:
It usually takes a couple of people to pull the bungee, and I'm still looking for volunteers!
Just joking of course, but here is the rest of the story.
My dad was an Air Force pilot for 25 years and flew in the Pacific theater in the late 1940's into the early 1950's. He left several photo albums with pictures of remote airfields, different planes, etc. Amongst those photos I found this one:
I was always curious about this picture. Then yesterday, while thumbing through some old issues of Vintage Airplane magazine I came across an article from May 1998 written by Hank Palmer titled Bungee Starting.
Here is a link to a pdf file of the article
A picture of the article:
Some paragraphs from the article:
I have used a bungee to start everything from a Stearman to the Hellcat, and in the 1950's when I was flying C-46s in air freight service all over Central and South America we always carried one in the belly, along with a spare set of spark plugs and a spare mag. To start these bigger engines it usually takes four men to stretch it, or in most cases we used a Jeep.
It is also important for the person or persons pulling the bungee that they line up just slightly ahead of the rotational plane of the blades, so it will lay across the hub, on top of the hub (or spinner if it has one), but will not be caught by a blade and wind up in the prop when the engine starts. Failing to keep the bungee and line clear of the prop could have dire consequences.
The person pulling the bungee will be standing right in line to be hit on the head by the boot after it leaves the prop tip, so he needs to be ready to duck. I never saw anybody hurt in this way.
Now I understand the picture.