Hucks starter

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Hucks Starter
The Shuttleworth Collection's working Hucks Starter positioned with their Bristol F.2 Fighter
Ford Model T Chassis Aero Engine Starter 1920 from Shuttleworth Collection

A Hucks starter is an auxiliary power unit, almost always a motortruck, that provides initial power to start up piston aircraft engines. Such Hucks starter trucks can be considered a mechanical replacement for a member of the groundcrew who would have spun an aircraft's propeller by hand. This is because of the starter truck's position in front of the airplane when starting, much like a groundcrew member.


The power is transmitted to the aircraft via a power take-off shaft, much like those found on the drive trains of rear-wheel drive vehicles, or agricultural machines. The shaft of the starter fits into a special protruding hub incorporating a simple projecting claw clutch on the center of the airplane's propeller assembly. When engaged, the power of the truck's engine is transmitted to the aircraft engine until start up, whereupon the faster speed of the now-running engine disengages the clutch, and then the starter truck clears the area prior to take-off.

The device was named after its inventor Bentfield Hucks, who was a captain in the Royal Flying Corps at the time.[1]

Business end of a Hucks starter, IWM Duxford


  1. ^ Aeroplane Monthly One good turn article in the March 1979 issue. p. 125.

See also[edit]