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

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.

About David Cenciotti 4425 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

2 Comments

  1. 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.

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