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by Wal Bowles


There were several unusual happenings while flying Anson aircraft on oil survey work. I was fortunate in having Bill Mitchell as the crew’s engineer on most occasions. Bill is an exceptional engineer, with an exceptional sense of humour. He knew his aircraft extremely well and, with VH-AGA, which had no starter motors and would normally rely on a hand wound inertia starter, Bill had his own method. To my recollection he never used the inertia starter. He instructed me in the way he wanted the engine controls set up, then he would prime the engine by pulling the propeller blades through, finally backing the prop against a cylinder compression. With a thumbs up signal to me in the cockpit, I would then operate the booster coil, which would send a shower of sparks into the cylinder with the piston just past top dead centre on the compression stroke, which Bill had carefully set up, and the engine fired immediately! Brilliant!

Wal Bowles
11th February 2003


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