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Old 12-15-2011, 07:37 PM
alpinelakespilot2000 alpinelakespilot2000 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,735
Default What to check for on first engine start?

About ready to fire things up and am trying to get my first start checklist/test card compiled. From Ironflight's conversation with Mahlon at Mattituck, it sounds like ground runs on new engines don't hurt anything so long as CHT's stay below 300F, but I'll still try to be as efficient as possible.

Here's what I have so far, not in any particular order:

1st engine start--
1. Check for oil pressure immediately.
2. Check to see if my Dynon is reading/correctly interpreting RPMs off the p-leads.
3. Check low idle speed (Mike Seager highly recommended getting it down to 550-600 if possible for the RV-9 to prevent float.)
4. Check to see if Dynon sensors are picking up CHT and EGT temps.
5. Check for proper amps/volts with alternator on.
6. Check both left and right tanks for flow while engine is running. [Not sure about the necessity of this one since I'll be doing it in the fuel flow test before the first start. (?)]
7. On shut down check for mixture idle cutoff.
8. After shutdown, check all oil/fuel fittings for leaks.
2nd engine start--
1. All of above to confirm after any adjustments made as a result of first start issues.
2. Brake pad conditioning/slow speed taxi testing.
What else would you add and/or subtract? Thanks.
Steve M.
Ellensburg WA
RV-9 Flying, 0-320, Catto

Donation reminder: Jan. 2022

Last edited by alpinelakespilot2000 : 12-16-2011 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:49 PM
Flyfalcons's Avatar
Flyfalcons Flyfalcons is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bonney Lake, WA
Posts: 295

Check ignition grounding
Ryan Winslow
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:33 PM
Wayne Gillispie Wayne Gillispie is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,499

Fill oil cooler.

Prime oil system with plugs removed.

Purge oil pressure sender line for quicker oil pressure indications.

Check timing.

Clean plugs and exterior of engine.

Fill oil to desired level and note after every run/flight.

Ensure you have retarded timing on one mag and other mag grounds out during start position(starter disconnected).

Recheck all oil/fuel lines, apply torque seal.

Recheck prop bolts.

Have fire extinguisher ready. Halon best.

Charge battery fully. 12.85+ OCV.

Preheat engine.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:10 AM
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JonJay JonJay is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Battleground
Posts: 4,348

You will not be able to adjust or check your idle . Idle speed and mixture need to be adjusted at operating temps. You will not be getting to operating temps on the ground, or at least you shouldnt.
This is important to remember on your first flight. Your idle may be too high, causing float, so make sure you are on a suitable length runway. Your idle may also be too low and can cause engine stoppage on landing roll out.
Not a significant event as long as you plan for them. (I just witnessed the later on an RV-10 first flight. Long time test pilot anticipated this during his test flight and landed in a direction on the runway so he could coast to parking rather than have to stop or turn around and have to restart the engine.)

The most important thing as mentioned is to insure that your oil system is primed. You should see oil pressure within 30 seconds or sooner.

The first engine start is really a verification that things are wired and plumbed properly and that you do not have any oil or fuel leaks.

Make sure you have a buddy standing by to alert you to shut down if there is any sign of fuel or oil leaking. He can also man the fire extinguisher.

Check, double check, your brakes, or better yet, tie the tail down. A first engine start on a twin that had the throttle wired backward on one engine recently resulted in a pirouette and a wing tip into the neighbors hangar. Not pretty. Same thing could happen if one brake failed.

Make it short, be safe, and have fun.
Smart People do Stupid things all the time. I know, I've seen me do'em.

RV6 - Builder/Flying
Bucker Jungmann
Fiat G.46 -(restoration in progress, if I have enough life left in me)
RV1 - Proud Pilot.
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:30 PM
nauga nauga is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: AOTP
Posts: 192

During the run have someone on the outside man a fire bottle and brief them on where to look for leaks and how to give you a shutdown signal.

In my case my ground crew caught the fuel streaming out of a loose fuel line fitting where I couldn't see it.
2004 RV-4
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:30 AM
alpinelakespilot2000 alpinelakespilot2000 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,735

Thanks for the ideas. I really wasn't able to find a similar thread in the archives, so hopefully this can be as helpful to others as it is to me.

Any suggestions on exactly how to test the ignition system and grounding. A runup to 1700 or so and just check for drop off in rpm as we do on pre-takeoff runups? Or is there a better check that can/should be done on first engine start.
Steve M.
Ellensburg WA
RV-9 Flying, 0-320, Catto

Donation reminder: Jan. 2022
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