B-52 "cart-start" and Minimum Interval Take-Off (MITO)

Jun 19 2012 - 2 Comments

The rapid launch of 17 B-52 Stratofortresses, that was the highlight of Constant Vigilance exercise held at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, on Jun, 11, 2012 was just the last of a series of event that have the aim to test the U.S. Air Force heavy bomber force’s mission readiness.

As the following interesting video shows, in June 2009, Minot hosted a 15-ship 15 MITO (Minimum Interval Take Off) in support of Exercise Global Thunder.

You can see crew members and crew chiefs rush to the planes and then hear a series of “booms”, with white smoke, before the engines spool up. That’s the effect of “cart-starts”, small starter cartridges, coffee cup sized shotshells used to jumpstart the engines removing the need for ground power or air start.

  • Steve

    Hmm, this is a new procedure over what it used to be. Back in the day of the A-D model they used a shotgun shell, and you got a huge black cloud of smoke. Sometimes they’d start 4 or more at once. This uses a very small explosive charge to start two engines, and they start the others while heading for the runway, hence the white smoke.

    There are some great pictures of B-57 cartridge starts that show the difference.

  • Jake

    Awesome stuff, thank you!