Rubber Cord Used as Self-Starter for Light-Plane Engine (Apr, 1941)

Rubber Cord Used as Self-Starter for Light-Plane Engine
USING the principle of the rubber-band-powered model, William Strohmeier, of Lock Haven, Pa., recently demonstrated a new lightweight self-starter for engines on private planes. By turning a crank on the instrument panel of his Piper Cub monoplane, Strohmeier winds up a rubber shock-absorber cord that runs the length of the fuselage. Thirty turns of the crank stretches the cord to the required tension. When the energy of the taut cord is released, it spins a metal inertia plate attached to the motor. This turns over the engine and starts it firing. The ingeniously simple arrangement makes the dangerous operation of spinning the propeller to start the motor unnecessary. The mechanism can be used with any type of light-plane engine.

  1. Hirudinea says: August 8, 20111:56 pm

    A rubber band!? Your kidding right? What does he use if the rubber band breaks, a hamster?

  2. Richard says: August 8, 20112:23 pm

    If the rubber band breaks, it’s going to hurt when it thwacks someone. But as for starting the engine, the normal way to do so on a Cub is to go outside and rotate the prop by hand. That would be the backup, I presume. To do it safely requires two people — one inside at the controls, and another outside to spin the prop. This is an improvement, particularly when the pilot doesn’t have an assistant. And it’s probably lighter weight than adding a battery, generator, and starter motor.

  3. mburdoo says: August 8, 20112:30 pm

    Speaking of rubber bands, whatever happened to the man carrying rubber band powered aircraft?

  4. Toronto says: August 8, 20117:57 pm

    Cubs used bungie cords as their landing gear suspension, anyway, so they had good quality products around.

    I’d be much more worried about my landing gear partially collapsing in use than I would my starter failing to work. But I’d also be worried about where a broken bungie might go – even on my bike a bungie break can really hurt. However, the inventor appears to have encased the twisted cord in a tube as it runs through the cockpit: it’s only uncovered in the tail section.

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