I Can’t Start My Engines When They Are _____ (Fill in The Blank – Usually Hot).

Twin Cessna Engine Issues

One of the instructors who flies our two Twin Cessna aircraft was flying to his family for Christmas. He had a stopover in Mississippi for fuel. While he was there, he noticed the plane in the picture above. The pilot was still cranking his engines after 15 minutes. They would not start. One of the things we ‘pound’ on in training is these Twin Cessna aircraft, when properly set up regarding the engines, will start in five revolutions hot or cold. Our 340 and our 421C have no problem starting hot, cold, loaded, unloaded, in the rain, in the snow, low altitudes, high altitudes or any other condition. We refuse to own an airplane that will not start easily with a simple combination of pre-charging the engine. So, what is the problem?

If you bought a brand-new Twin Cessna in 1981 from a Cessna dealer and you made your first flight and 3 hours later, you fueled and got ready to leave and your engines took 20 minutes to start you would be beyond mad. You would be livid. This is just like buying a new car. If after driving away from the dealer, stopping for gas and it would not start you would be on the phone calling the dealer to come get this “lemon.” So again, what is the problem.

The problem is simple. Whoever is working on your aircraft does NOT KNOW HOW TO SET UP THE ENGINES. This is simple. If the person working on your airplane has worked on Twin Cessna aircraft for more than 30 years you can bet they know the “tricks of the trade.” That being how to tweak these engines to start hot or cold or in any other condition.

Rule One: There are mechanics who work mainly on these aircraft, and they know what to do to make these aircraft perform.

Rule Two: There are mechanics who TRY to work on these aircraft who call themselves Twin Cessna specialist who do NOT know how to set up these engines for immediate start hot or cold.

Rule Three: There really is no such thing as what we all think we know as a “hot start” on Continental engines. This is because of the way the fuel pump is designed. At AST we explain this when we discuss the turbocharger and fuel system and how they “team up” to work together. This is where the engines need to be “tweaked” for a air to fuel combination.

It is that simple. So, if you want to sit on a ramp and grind away at that expensive starter and adapter, have at it. The overhaul facilities are waiting for you. For 25 years I have lived with two Twin Cessna aircraft and several other models. You finally get smart and realize that there are those who CAN and those who CAN’T regarding the knowledge of knowing Twin Cessnas. It is your choice. 

Train hard, fly safe.

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