Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

Convair 580 Engine Start "Flames"?

Wed Apr 25, 2001 5:49 am

Hi guys. My question is about the "Starter Motors" on the CV-580 Convair.

Years ago, when I worked at a corporate FBO in Toronto [YYZ], I had the pleasure of servicing a Convair that was based on our ramp. It was mostly chartered when ever the "Toronto Maple Leafs" hockey team needed her to fly them to a game that was close to the Great Lakes. When ever she was towed into position, refueled, etc, and ready for engine start, it was always an "Amazing Sight" [and sound] to see the blue-ish orange "Flame" that would start shooting out the side of the engine cowling below the leading edge of the wing. It was especially Cool to watch the "flaming start up" at Night!!!

I can't remember what the pilots told me back then [a decade ago], about how the starter worked. Can someone please explain to me why there were Flames?

Also, can someone tell me what type of starter this was and if any other aircraft use it? I do remember a pilot telling me that the C-130 Hercules had the same engines. Is this true?

In this photo, you can see the exhaust port hole, on the side of the engine where the flames would shoot out during start up. [from what I can recall].


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Photo © John P. Stewart



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Photo © Jonathan Derden



Chris
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
OldMan
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:38 am

RE: Convair 580 Engine Start

Wed Apr 25, 2001 7:53 am

I think what yor are describing on the 580 on the right side is the exhaust of the APU. Once it is up to speed you will not see any (should not)flames.
The exhaust for the Allison engines is thru a pipe located over the wing to the trailing edge. I have spent about 10,200 hrs. on the 580 and it is about the only aircraft that you almost never have to use the brakes..Regards.
 
Twotterwrench
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 5:57 pm

RE: Convair 580 Engine Start "Flames"?

Wed Apr 25, 2001 10:11 am

Oldman, no disrespect intended. Having read your previous posts, I am very well aware that you know alot more about these aircraft than I do, but you are just a little bit off in your description. On a CV-580 conversion, there was an optional APU that did act as a true APU. It could provide both air for engine starts and DC generation on the ground. The APU, however, lived in the tail of the aircraft and was referred to as a "stinger". The flame that one sees leaving the right side of the nacelle prior to engine start is from the GTC, or Gas Turbine Compressor. This unit lives in the right QEC and it's only purpose was to provide air for engine start on the ground. All CV-580's had a GTC, but not all of them had APU's. It's simply a gas turbine engine that makes a lot of air for the pneumatic starters. It is not capable of DC generation. The blue flame you see is due to the fact that the turbine wheel is only about 6 or 7 inches away from the end of the exhaust stack, so while the unit is still in underspeed condition, it puts on a great fireworks show that would normally be contained within a normally longer exhaust system. Hope this helped.
 
OldMan
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:38 am

Twotterwrench

Wed Apr 25, 2001 10:51 pm

I stand corrected on the 580. The one's I flew only had a GTC for starting air and no elect. capabilities. We did not have a "stinger" and thus the GTC was erroneously referred to as a APU. My mistake, thanks. Oldman
 
Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

RE:Oldman/Twotterwrench

Thu Apr 26, 2001 4:24 am

Thanks for the info guys. Yes it was quite the sight to see when that 2 foot long flame would start shooting out like a huge "Blow Torch" during startup. Especially when your standing right beside the Convair, as a ramp crewmen. I'm sure it caused a lot of heads to turn when people were passing by, and probably wondering if something was wrong!

Chris
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
Guest

RE: RE:Oldman

Thu Apr 26, 2001 5:11 am

Out of curiosity Oldman, who did you fly for?
 
OldMan
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:38 am

Stallspeed

Thu Apr 26, 2001 5:57 am

USAirways when retired. Originally hired by Lake Central Airlines in the mid west in 1961. Started on DC-3, Cv340/440 then Allison Conv. and stayed on that until after the merger with Allegheny Airl. Been thru PHX/TUS/ABQ many times on 727,75&76. Perhaps we have crossed trails? Regards.
 
tito
Posts: 122
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 1:39 pm

RE: Convair 580 GTC/APU

Thu Apr 26, 2001 6:28 am

The nacelle mounted GTC WAS available with a DC generator. The tail mounted "stinger" had an AC generator (alternator). At my last job we had one of each (APU [GTC w/DC], GTC, and APU [stinger]). The stinger shot a blue flame about 4 feet long about three or four times during each start, and was really cool because it looked like some kind of Rocket Assist (being mounted in the tail), and we'd get a kick telling the ground crew that. Our GTC only a/c were ex-Allegheny, and the GTC w/DC was from Republic/Northwest (The Republic a/c had some other odd mods, like a cropped yoke which made the controls even heavier)
 
Guest

RE: Convair 580 GTC/APU

Sun Apr 29, 2001 3:11 am

I flew the 580 (or Roto-Rooter) at Frontier for a few years. We had only the GTC for starting and had to rely on ground sources for DC and heating/cooling. I was told that at the time FAL converted the 580's, an APU installation would have cost an additional $42000 per aircraft and they just couldn't justify spending the money. Obviously whoever made that decision never had to sit in one on the ground for any length of time in the middle of summer or winter. One summer trip through 6 stops across Kansas, the coolest the cockpit got was 114 degrees and that was after being at 11000' for 15 minutes. Penny wise and pound foolish.
The control columns in our 580's had to be shortened a little to improve flight instrument readability when new design Attitude and HSI indicators were installed. I never noticed any heavier elevator control force as a result. They were all HEAVY. You used the trim tab or you couldn't hold it.
I also flew the CV-600 and it's control forces were much lighter since it had to comply with newer certification rules which the 580 didn't. The 580 would have never passed the new rules. The 600 sure wouldn't preform like the 580 either although east of the Rockies, it did just fine.
 
Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

RE: Jacknbox

Sun Apr 29, 2001 3:30 am

"Welcome Aboard!!!" Jacknbox. Thanks for the info. It's to bad that I never got up flying in the Convair 580 after one of my shifts on the ramp [I did with our Falcon 20's, Lear 35's and Metro III's], but it was sure a lot of fun re-fuelling and towing them around.

Chris
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
Guest

RE: Convair 580 GTC/APU

Sun Apr 29, 2001 5:22 am

Hey Jack,

Welcome aboard. Tito, myself, Oldman and you are all 580 alumni! I flew the 580s for ERA up in Alaska (couldn't make a living).

You are absolutely 100% positive on the heavy pitch. I will say that you always got the feeling you were in control of the aircraft though.
 
tito
Posts: 122
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 1:39 pm

RE: Convair 580 Heavy Controls

Sun Apr 29, 2001 10:47 am

We had one 580 that was MUCH lighter on the controls than the rest.... we didn't know why, but our DO thought that it was due to larger bell cranks (it was our sole 340 airframe, the rest were 440's)

Any thoughts?
 
Guest

RE: Convair 580 Engine Start

Mon Apr 30, 2001 12:33 pm

One reason might be was that the 240/340 had cable control actuation and the 440 had pushpull rods. That 340 might have been a much lower time (or straighter) airplane. Could be that the ex-340 had been recently re-rigged or the ex-440's were badly in need of re-rigging.

Of the 50 or so 580's we had at FAL only one had reasonable and responsive aileron control. It was a former corporate aircraft (Skelly Oil), ex-340 and was a relatively low-timer with L-188 Electra type control wheels. But alas, when it had the control column shortened for the new panel mod, the control wheels were replaced with the old Convair parts and the ailerons re-rigged and it became a truck just like all the rest of it's sisters!

I once had a problem with the aileron controls momentarily catching while landing at Omaha one day. If possible, this bird had always been heavier than normal on the ailerons in the past. Maintenence found that there was no tension on the aileron cables and the drooping cables were allowing a turnbuckle to momentarily hang up as it went through a fairlead (or somesuch). After rerigging, the ailerons were lighter than normal but before long it was just a truck again.

One thing about our 580's with water-menthanol injected engines, the did have alot of oomph. If you ever wanted an airplane to pull stumps with, this was the one!
 
Monocleman
Posts: 133
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2001 10:21 am

RE: Convair 580 Engine Start "Flames"?

Mon Apr 30, 2001 12:48 pm

I guess I'm the only one here who hasn't flown Convairs, so I feel a little left out... But I have a comment. I have heard that flames can be seen coming out of jet engis sometimes and this was explained away as a normal occurence. What I was told happens is that engine oil collects in the rear cowl when the engine isn't running and then ignited when the exhaust gas passes over it, and it is completely harmless. Is this true?
-Will

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