Engine Starters (photos)

Various engine starters…(a tad larger round than the aforementioned

The large brass British one, which was used on the Canberra bomber (and most likely other aircraft) is a common case to find for sale at flea markets in the UK. They are often being sold as a “shell case” even though they are headstamped “CART ELECT ENG START”. The containers and caps are not so common though.

Falcon, the US built the Canberra in licence as B-57. Maybe the starter here is from this time.

That starter cartridge for the Canberra bomber is the same “Coffman starter” used in the original movie “Flight of the Phoenix” for that B-57 when Jimmy Stewart’s character tries to start the rebuilt plane a few times, and then does a shot with the ignition off to clear the cylinders. Great movie.

DK Configuration, that was a C-119 “Flying Boxcar”, a totally different aircraft (no jet). The starters they been using in the movie were cal.4 if I remember correctly.

You’re right EOD, I need to proofread more, I meant “similar to the B57” in terms of the cartridges used.

I have seen Flight of the Phoenix (the original), and I remember seeing the “Coffman” starter in use. I think the Canberra was only ever started with the large brass cartridge shown. The one in the photo is definitely british made, as the container is marked “I.C.I.” .

Very cool! I saw a similar movie a few years ago, I think with Mathew McConaheyhey were he used one of these to clear his plane engine and then the last one to start it. Can remember the name but it had a good view of the headstamp and box the rounds came in if I remember correctly.


I guess we need to keep in mind, this is the same Hollywood that portrays a pistol round rolling off a table and setting off a chain reaction of havoc.

Yeah, that is SO TRUE! The rounds he used in the movie can be “Hollywood” engine starters and not represent the true artifact in any way :-)