Air Starts

On the Cont. IO-360 fuel starvation issue, I can certainly attest to how difficult it is to get them going again compared to the Lycoming IO-360. After having run the aux tanks empty rountinely to the point of engine stoppage (on the Lycoming), and then having the fire light right off, no problemo, I was not concerned when, flying a friend’s Continental IO-360, the engine quit due to having the aux tank run dry over the mountains one nice day when I was at 9,500’ msl. By the time it started running again, I had descended to BELOW the level of the adjacent ground level, and was in the Spokane River cut through the mountains, approximately 4000’ msl.  Not only must you use the fuel boost, you must be careful about it lest you flood the system (or whatever I did for over 5000’). For those who have not totally lost an engine before, be aware that even at reasonable  glide speeds of about 85 mph, in flat pitch a Swift drops like a piano tossed out the 10th story window. The whole adventure didn’t take more than a couple of minutes, but I did appreciate the difference between  Lycoming and Continental injection systems. Needless to say, I like the Lycoming much better. ----Madison Jones

SMAT 3 CHECKS IN... News from Swift Magic Aerobatic Team member Michael Kennedy ( and his opinion on the Continental IO-360 airstart problem related by Swifter Madison Jones ( in last month’s Swiftweb:

Note on Continental airstart. The altitude was the problem. At 9500 ft you can only use low boost when the engine stops. High boost will flood it out until you get to lower altitude. We run our tanks dry all the time to insure they are empty before performing for a show. I have never had more than a few seconds of silence and not lost any altitude. This is why the Continental IO-360 STC has a two position fuel boost switch included. High boost is only to prime for start. It can be used to catch a empty tank, but even at lower altitudes it could be too much. I have a two light warning system for my boost switch - Yellow, low boost on, RED high boost on. You need to know which boost position is selected, especially if you loose the engine pump at low altitude. High boost could keep you from getting your engine restarted.  --  Michael Kennedy