We fly old planes for air shows. Some of these aircraft look like they are new, but they were made back during WWII. We were looking to add an old Hawker Sea Hawk to our fleet, but I had never flown a plane that uses a cartridge to start the engine. The cartridge is an explosive that drives a turbine to start your airplane. Unlike your car that starts with the turn of a key, airplanes have different and sometimes very complicated starting procedures. I did an NSN lookup to see if we could still get the cartridges made to OEM specs to get that old engine turning every time we wanted to fly.
Some collectors and flight groups probably make their own stuff or have it made by experts. Our budget is quite a bit tighter, so being able to buy things off the shelf without the need for customization is what keeps us in business. My group is already heavily invested in this expensive hobby. Though we all have very successful careers to afford to play with these toys, we do not have an unlimited budget. The guys and gals in my group still have mortgages, college tuition and regular expenses. I was at my limit for spending to buy airplane parts and maintaining things. That’s why I got a lot of stuff from New Century Components in the first place. They stock the things we need. I just find the part, call for a price and place an order.
Well, even though we could find the cartridges to start the plane, we could not budget enough to make the 37th Sea Hawk to be complete. There are still only 36 of them with a few more cockpits around. Only one is ready to fly. We wanted to have the second one actually flying in our shows.