Startup: Flying Fortress 101 Edition

It is a safe, comfortable feeling to know that in a pinch, I could hop into pretty much any modern passenger car, truck, or motorcycle and drive it right off the bat. Handy in all sorts of situations – zombie attack, lemur uprising, moonlighting as a valet, casual car theft, or murderous in-laws. Of course, there are a few modes of transportation that I couldn’t readily operate, and that troubles me.

Foremost on the list is the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Because when the dung really, really, really hits the prop and you need to get up out this Bich, there’s really nothing better than a late 1930s heavy bomber packing four Wright R-1820 nine-cylinder radials – for a total of 120 liters and 4,800 HP of GTFO power.

Luckily, the B-17 is a real breeze to start – as this seven-minute video should make abundantly clear. Now that I’ve seen it, just toss me the keys and I’ll just pop down to the bodega down the street and pick up a sixer. Should be back in about 15 hours.

  • See here? This is why AtomicToasters is one of the most invaluable resources in the whole of the internets.

  • thomasmac

    I love watching a radial start in person, the sounds and smell are something else!

  • P161911

    Wonder how many extinguisher guys ran through the prop before they figured out he should be behind the engine?

  • highmileage_v1

    Ah, burping, farting radials, they're great. Mags on, hit the starter, count the blades, prime on, mixture up when it's running. Wait for the smoke to clear (hopefully no big flames).

    A buddy of mine flew Trackers for a few years. He was doing a closed pattern one day when the prop reduction gear on one engine ground itself into metal filings. The oil filter plugged up and gallons of oil went overboard, overhead the unit parking lot. A lot of paint jobs were ruined that day. Radials, classic.