B-36, pulling through props by hand

Joe Broady

Airman
88
128
May 30, 2019
The Aviation Archives site has a Flight Operating Instructions document for the B-36A, AN 01-5EUA-1, 15 October
1947. First flight of the XB-36 occurred in August 1946, so this manual is an early look at the B-36. The
performance charts are based on calculated data since flight testing is still in work.

One perplexing thing is the engine start checklist instruction: "Direct all propellers be pulled through six
blades. CAUTION: Use no more than two men per blade. The engines must be turned carefully while checking for
hydraulic lock."

I can't imagine how a B-36 could be pulled through by hand. The props seem too high from the ground. And B-36
props have three blades, so when you've gone as far as possible with one blade, it's a long reach to the next
one. Also, I think the gear reduction ratio is .375, so one blade equals almost a full engine revolution.
Although the 19 foot propeller diameter gives a lot of leverage, it still seems too much for two guys. Anyone
have a clue how they did it?

By 1953 the B-36H manual says, "Energize starter intermittently for 3 blades (60-degree increments) and
continuously for 3 blades. Maintain contact with observer for reports of propeller movement."

A few years later you simply cranked continuously for 6 blades, then ignition ON.

CAUTION. The Aviation Archives page has download links to several sites. I don't trust filefactory.com.
Immediately after one download, Windows Defender said it was holding these malware files in quarantine:

Trojan:phonzy.C!ml
Trojan:phonzy.B!ml
Trojan:FakeAlert.AA
Exploit:JS/CVE-2020.0674A

Another time, filefactory.com asked permission to send notifications. I thought it had something to do with the
download, so I said yes. I received a notification that my browser was out of date, and I should click a link
for an update. I was suspicious and checked the browser version. It was fully up to date.

I have never had trouble with rapidgator.net.
 

FLYBOYJ

"THE GREAT GAZOO"
Staff
Mod
28,097
8,668
Apr 9, 2005
Colorado, USA
I can't imagine how a B-36 could be pulled through by hand. The props seem too high from the ground. And B-36
props have three blades, so when you've gone as far as possible with one blade, it's a long reach to the next
one. Also, I think the gear reduction ratio is .375, so one blade equals almost a full engine revolution.
Although the 19 foot propeller diameter gives a lot of leverage, it still seems too much for two guys. Anyone
have a clue how they did it?
Go to 0:35 of this classic video, the props are not as high as you think.

 

11bwmech

Airman
19
21
Jul 10, 2014
I came into the B-36 program in late 1951, so I have no info about pulling engines through by hand. I can say that the blades came close to the ground, within a few feet. When installing a prop, it was done with "long blade down," and one man held the blade and wiggled it to facilitate the prop's sliding on to the shaft. He didn't have to reach for it; it was right in front of him. For what it's worth.
 

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