AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

What Is an Aircraft Engine Starting System?

The engine starting system is a crucial component in the operation of any aircraft, responsible for initiating the rotation of the main shaft, which in turn starts the engine. Engine starting systems allow for operations to begin efficiently, ensuring that the powerplant is able to reach self-sufficient speeds for optimal combustion before a flight is carried out. 

At the heart of the aircraft engine starting system is the starter, a powerful electric motor that provides the initial rotation needed to kick off engine processes. The starter is usually connected to the engine's main shaft through a gearbox, and when activated, it transfers rotational force to the engine to initiate combustion. To activate the starter, a pilot will utilize a switch located in the cockpit. This switch connects the starter to the aircraft's electrical system, allowing for a flow of current to power the starter motor. Once the switch is engaged, the starter motor will begin to spin, generating the necessary torque to initiate the engine's rotation.

However, the process of starting an aircraft engine is not as simple as flipping a switch. To ensure a safe and reliable startup, the starting system incorporates several additional components. One such component is a solenoid, which acts as an electromagnetic switch. The solenoid receives a signal from the starter switch and controls the flow of current to the starter motor. That way, it serves as a safety mechanism that prevents the starter motor from engaging when certain conditions are not met.

When the starter motor begins to rotate, it drives the engine's main shaft through the gearbox. The rotational force generated by the starter motor causes the engine's internal components, such as the pistons, crankshaft, and valves, to move. This movement, combined with the introduction of fuel and ignition, ultimately leads to the beginning of the combustion process as the engine comes to life.

Aircraft engines can employ different types of starting systems based on their design and size. Small aircraft, such as those with piston engines, often use electric starters. These starters are lightweight and compact, making them suitable for smaller engines. In contrast, larger aircraft, such as those with jet engines, utilize more complex systems, such as air turbine starters or auxiliary power units (APUs). These systems provide the necessary power and torque to start larger engines when electric starters are insufficient.

In addition to the starter, switch, solenoid, and their associated components, a starting system may also include auxiliary devices to further aid in the startup process. For example, some aircraft engines incorporate preheating systems to warm up the engine's internal components before starting. This is particularly important in colder climates, where cold engine oil and other fluids can impede the startup process.

Overall, the engine starting system plays a vital role in the safe and efficient operation of an aircraft. Without a properly functioning starting system, an engine may fail to initiate, leading to delays, cancellations, or even more serious consequences during flight. Pilots and aircraft technicians are trained to understand and operate the starting system effectively, ensuring a smooth startup and the reliable performance of the aircraft engine. If you happen to be in need of aircraft engine starting parts for maintenance and repair endeavors or for project fulfillment, we at NSN Catalogue are your sourcing solution for highly competitive pricing and rapid lead times on over 6 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find products that trace back to leading manufacturers that we trust.

Operating with AS9210B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation, we go above and beyond industry expectations to always ensure the highest quality solutions for our customers. Furthermore, with a supply-chain network stretching across the globe, we can meet time constraints with ease. To learn more about how we can specifically serve you, be sure to send us a completed quote request or get in contact with a team member of ours through phone or email. We look forward to fulfilling each and every one of your needs as your strategic sourcing partner!


December 13, 2022
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