View Full Version : Flight of the Phoenix

03-19-2007, 06:31 PM
I watched this movie the other week. It was relatively entertaining though of course peppered with hollywood BS.

Something that really raised question in me however was the starting of the engines. The pilot has some sort of device with what looked like 6 shotgun shells inside. He would stick this thing god knows where, fire off a shell and the propeller would begin to turn? Is this thing for real or some kind of hollywood ****? I've been fascinated by aircraft (especially those of the WWII era) for my whole life and have done a lot of reading and such but I can't remember ever coming across something like this.

Anyone care to put my mind at ease?

03-19-2007, 07:02 PM
no it's for real......i forgot the name for the thing..i have the original and the new version of the movie....but yes it's a real deal starting option....

03-19-2007, 07:16 PM
I remember the Old version with James Stewart. Saw it when i was about 10 or so(36 nowhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif ) it gave me nightmares, thinking about being stuck out there in the desert. If im not mistaken its partialy(right word?) based on a real insident. Seen the new one too, with Dennis Quaid. Liked the old one better. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

03-19-2007, 09:07 PM
FOr a while when the new one was first out on DVD you could get a 2 pack of the movies, both the new and old versions..

Both are great stories, but the older one is more interesting because they actually built the aircraft, and it flew-- tho it killed one of the stunt pilots during filming in a crash.

ITs still one of my favorite movies, that came in nicely under the radar.

03-19-2007, 11:09 PM

It's an old type of starter, called a Koffman starter. It utilises expansion of explosive gases to get the engine turning. Big radials used it, and the Napier-Sabre engine in the Typhoon and Tempest V. Others too, I don't know how common it was.

03-20-2007, 12:10 AM
If you have IL2 - pacific fighters , jump into a B25 and start an engine. I only noticed this 'BANG' the other night (after 5 years http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif), but it had always been there - I just thought that it was a sound bug in the program

Nice name 'UncleRoger' - You must have got it from the 'Thin Blue Line' http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

03-20-2007, 01:34 AM
I suppose it was the forerunner of the bleed-air starter. If only we still had 'em. Cough-bang- smoke. And pilots could carry handguns. *sigh*

Thanks Mr Freddie. I actually have an Uncle Roger, who used to take me to lunch at the Melbourne Club as a lad, and berate me about 'Getting On In The World'.

A titled chap. I think he liked being spanked but I never confirmed this.

And it's UR in the old phonetic alphabet. Now Uniform Romeo, quite quite boring.

03-20-2007, 05:46 AM
The US Airforce still uses a Koffman starter on the B-52, the cartridge is about the size of a coffe can, and makes loads of nasty smoke.

Of course, the B-52 is around 45-46 years old (currently flying versions)

03-20-2007, 07:19 PM
Thanks for the enlightenment. Its hard to believe something the size of a shotgun shell could cause an aircraft engine. Thinking of the physics in my head I wouldn't have thought a charge like that could make the 2.2L engine in my car turn more than maybe a couple of revolutions. I remember when I was watching the movie and despite drinking heavily the best conclusion I could come up with was that the charge would be enough to spin an electric generator of some kind. This would generate enough electricity to turn the engine for a few seconds. Guess I was wrong.

"Well its just, drinkin' thinkin' liquor logic in a can, your brain cells harden, and your body, believes you're super man..."

03-20-2007, 09:32 PM
Think Grumman F4Fs, F6Fs, and Vought Corsairs used it. Basiclly a blank shotgun shell, a one shot deal. The ground crewman had the unenviable job on those fighters of standing right behind the prop, and pulling a bad cartrige, and placing a new one. When it worked, he got blasted, obviously.