First Engine Start

Time: 2 Hours

I spent the morning cleaning up some little tasks for the first engine start. A good once over of the engine area to make sure all items were secure and ready to go. I spent an hour or so going over the starting procedures recommended by Superior and P-Mags. It has been a while since I had started a single engine piston aircraft and wanted to make sure I had all my steps down again. I called my pilot/A&P friends and advised them of the start to come help, watch and advise as needed. Before I knew it we had a small crowd from the neighborhood that popped out to watch the big moment. I followed the steps from AeroSport power on pre-lubing the engine with the lower spark plugs removed. That went smooth and we had oil pressure on the third starter cycle. Plugs back installed and ignitions wires put back in place and we didn’t have any more excuses for delaying. So we pulled the RV out and strapped the tailwheel to my truck. Chocked the main tires and got fire extinguishers on standby. With several iPhones recording I jumped in the RV and ran my checklists for pre start steps. My heart was pounding and I was pretty nervous as I had been waiting for this step for over seven years. Throttle full open, mixture full open, boost pump on for five seconds, boost pump off, mixture cutoff and throttle cracked open slightly. A quick look around and the standard “clear prop” I hit the starter toggle switch. The propellor turned and for 10 seconds or so with no fire. I repeat the boost pump steps and hit the starter again but this time the engine roared to life and the sound of the Vetterman exhaust was AWESOME and just what I dreamed of. Ok head back inside and check the gauges…everything looks good and pressures are stable. The RPM indications were off, a ground wire would be found later to be disconnected from the P-Mag on the left side. I ran through the Mag checks and changed the RPM a little for a few minutes and shut the engine down. You don’t want to do long ground runs on a new engine as you can damage the cylinder walls which need the first five hours or so at high power settings to set the piston rings. No leaks or issues firewall forward and everything worked as it was supposed to.

I can’t describe how nervous but excited I was for this day. It will only be surpassed by the first flight I will do in the next few months. What a day!

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