Pushback and engine start question

Hi IFC,
So I am about to pushback, in the A320 :), and came up with a question? I know you are supposed to start engine 2 first but are you supposed to start them up when you:
Begin pushback
When pushback is over and you have received the hand signal (we wish)
Or half way through pushback?

Thanks so much for all your help.

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I usually do it after pushback.

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after you have stopped pushback

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I start Engine #2 while pushing back, and #1 after pushback is done.

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Thanks all

It depends on the airline’s SOP, as far as I’m aware.

A general rule of thumb from watching countless airplane videos:

  • Engine start after pushback in the US/domestic carriers.
  • Engine start during pushback outside of the US/non-domestic carriers.

Again, it’s dependent on airline. I know when I flew on American, engines started up once the pushback was done. On Delta, I noticed they started engines as soon as the pushback commenced.

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IRL pilots often begin engine startup during pushback once they receive the OK from the ground crew.

I agree. In my experience though the first is usually started during pushback, cleared for the push and start so that’s what I do.

I personally do it after I stop pushback and am lined up with the taxi line.

That is somewhat true whilst not being entirely true. I’ve found out that depending on different aircraft, of which ever side the parking break hydraulics are, that’s the side, you should start your engine’s on first, or it’s recommended at least but may be modified by airlines to suit their needs.


On the Airbus A320, you’d start Engine no. 2 and then Engine no. 1, since the Parking Breaks works in the Yellow Hydraulics system on the A320, while it is the Blue Hydraulics on the A330 and A340. That system’s engine driven pump is on the left hand side. So you start engine 1 first on the A330 & A340.

Same goes for the A380, you start 1, 2 first then once they power-up, you start 3, 4. The Boeing 747, does it the other way around, 4, 3, then 2, 1.

The A320 family, just like the A330s, have 3 hydraulic systems: Green, with a pump on engine 1, Blue, with an electric pump, and Yellow, with a pump on engine 2. On the 330 the engines have 2 hydraulic pumps each: engine 1 the Blue and Green, engine 2 a Yellow and another Green.

And lastly, this procedure may differ from company to company, so different airlines, might do it differently, from what is recommended by the manual.

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In real life it depends on the clearance you received from ground or delivery… When you’re cleared to pushback and startup; you then communicate with the ground crew to start the pushback and startup procedures in cooperation with each others… So it depends on the clearance you’ve gotten …

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