How Do Airplane Engines Start? 

It might seem like a simple question with a straightforward answer, but your aircraft’s starter is more complex than you might think. In this article, we’re going to get into how a starter works, the components that it is made of, maintenance tips, and specific brands of starters.

How Does a Starter Work?  

According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), your starter does the heavy lifting when it comes to getting your aircraft up and running. 

First, when the key is switched to the “start” position, a solenoid closes. This allows a high amount of amperage to go to the starter motor.  

Then, the motor converts electrical energy to mechanical energy. Eventually, a small shaft with teeth on the end grabs onto the flywheel or ring gear behind the propeller, which turns the crankshaft and in turn, starts the combustion process.  

Check out this image from AOPA for a visual on how the starter works⤵️ 

Learn more about how aircraft starters work in this video from PCC Aviation Science⤵️ 

Starter Maintenance and Care 

According to AOPA, most starter complications are due to system issues, battery problems, or starter drive trouble.  

Insider Tip: 

Beware of starter overheating.  If your engine does not start, allow your starter to cool before attempting a second start. Starter overheating can cause internal damage to the starter, resulting in expensive replacement costs. 

If a starter is poorly maintained, it can’t crank the engine vigorously, which then depletes the battery’s cranking power. 

What Components is a Starter Made Of? 

The starter consists of several different components: 

➡️ Armature 

➡️ Windings 

➡️ Shaft 

➡️ Gears 

➡️ Solenoids 

➡️ Bearings 

Where Can You Find Starter Repair Shops? 

AAI supplies and manages repairs on brands like Teledyne, Delco Remy, Hartzell, Bendix, Presolite, and SkyTec. We understand that when you can’t find the parts you need, the problems multiply. You send in your plane for routine maintenance and expect to have it back in a week. But inspections turn up several parts that need to be replaced, which could take weeks or even months. What now? 

The entire process of locating, ordering, and receiving certified aircraft accessories is a huge headache. 

Uncertified, untested parts are all over the internet, but do you really want to risk your safety for convenience? Certified replacement parts can take a ridiculously long time to ship – sometimes months – and the cost can be absurdly high. 

Unless you shop with AAI. 

We’ll help you avoid the delays and headaches, and instead get certified, safe, and tested aircraft accessories so that you can fix your aircraft and get back to flying. 

1. Call AAI  

2. Get a quote  

3. Fix your plane and fly  

Find the parts you need and get back in the air, fast. 

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