Thursday, March 9, 2017

Hucks Aircraft Starters

Starting a de Havilland DH10

A Hucks starter is an auxiliary power unit, almost always a motortruck, were commonly used in the 1920s and 1930s, when aircraft engines had become too large to be easily started by hand.

The device was named after its inventor Bentfield Hucks, who was a captain in the Royal Flying Corps at the time. Hucks Starters were based on Ford Model T trucks, which were in widespread use and familiar to ground crew.

The power is transmitted to the aircraft via a power take-off shaft, much like those found on the drive trains of some rear-wheel drive vehicles. The shaft of the starter fits into a special protruding hub incorporating a simple projecting claw clutch on the center of the airplane's propeller assembly. When engaged, the power of the truck's engine is transmitted to the aircraft engine until start up, whereupon the faster speed of the now-running engine disengages the clutch, and then the starter truck clears the area prior for takeoff.

Starting a Bristol F.2

Russian R-5 being started with their version of a Hucks starter.

A Russian Polikarpov I-153 being started with the help of a Starter Hucks type mounted on a Gaz AAA Truck

Starting an Avro 504N

Some starters were used into the 1940s as the below picture attests.  
Advance parties of R.A.A.F. mobile works units were among the first to land on Noemfoor Island, in North-western New Guinea. Airmen having lunch, using the bonnet of a Japanese aircraft starter truck as a table.


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