Good footing for handpropping

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pelmet
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Good footing for handpropping

Post by pelmet »

I haven't been asked this question in years but in the past, the doctor used to ask if I have any scars. I assumed that this was for identification purposes in the event of a nasty accident but never asked why they wanted to know.

Anyways, I only have one small scar under my left knee that I got when I was a kid plying around at school. We were on a street and a sort of game of tag happened where I tried to start running suddenly. There were some small stones on the pavement where I was and as I tried to move suddenly to start running, the few stones under my foot prevented me from getting a good footing and I slipped and fell, with all my weight landing on my left knee right on top of a larger stone. Took a long time to heel with big bandages.

So what does that have to do with an accident or potential aircraft accident. I was reminded of that day when I saw someone in this video hand propping an aircraft. I takes many attempts to get the aircraft going but on the first attempt, you can see the guy momentarily slip. And you can hear the sound of the small bits of stone under their feet. Yet even after slipping the first time, he still keeps on pulling the prop through a bunch more times and he is eventually successful. But why not get a broom or something and sweep the bits of stone out of the way. It all happens in a quarter of a second and it is over as he gets his footing. It doesn't look like much but a hand-propping accident happens in an instant.

Start at 4:45. You can see the small stones at 6:45......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... =emb_title

Seeing as I am on handprop stories.

It also reminded me of another handprop accident many years ago when I was a student pilot. Some guy in a Comanche arrived from another city late at night with his girlfriend and wanted some gas from the flying club. It turned out to be too late and he couldn't get any fuel. But he couldn't start up because his battery was weak. He put his non-pilot girlfriend in the pilots seat and then two bad things happened at the same time. He slipped while swinging the prop and the engine caught at high power. As he fell, his foot must have come up because it was cut off(or mostly off). Meanwhile, the airplane with the girlfriend went across a taxiway and smashed into a beautiful Mooney. Somehow, the stab of the Mooney went straight into the Pipers side window. I still have the pictures of the aircraft somewhere.

So when a mechanic wanted to handprop an aircraft I was flying a few years ago(for an engine run) on an slippery, snow covered ramp, I insisted that he get some gravel and put it down in front of the aircraft and ensure that it was not slippery. Gravel/small stones can be good on some surfaces but not on paved surfaces.
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2R
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Re: Good footing for handpropping

Post by 2R »

Watched a woman hand propping an aircraft one sunny day , using a technique that I thought was dangerous . So I put my instructor hat on and offered some free safety tips on how to avoid losing thumbs and getting in a safe position in case it revs up and tries to move into you . That was the first and only time I have ever seen a technique where the head and shoulders is in the plane of rotation of the propeller . The guy who told her to do it that way was sitting in the airplane . He was giving me one of those mind your own business looks . Once they were shown a correct and safe way to hand prop an airplane with no starter , off they went . They were still together last I saw them . Even bought me a coffee . Just trying to help .
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HO Driver
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Re: Good footing for handpropping

Post by HO Driver »

Well, there's 15 minutes of my life I'll never get back. That was the most boring video I've ever seen.
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PilotDAR
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Re: Good footing for handpropping

Post by PilotDAR »

I had to hand prop my 150 while parked on ice once, I had an ice screw, so tying it was no problem, but good footing was a problem. So I walked to shore with a plastic bag I had in the back. I found a spot of excess where the highway sander had sanded the road, and scooped up a few handfuls, which also had some road salt in it. I carefully planned where my feet should be, and sanded that area. It worked very well, and I got home with no further problem. It was one of those many times in life, I thought about the time it would take to walk to shore, compared with the time it would take if I didn't, and something went much less well. The walk to shore did not take long, by comparison!
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pelmet
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Re: Good footing for handpropping

Post by pelmet »

HO Driver wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:05 am Well, there's 15 minutes of my life I'll never get back. That was the most boring video I've ever seen.
As stated in the original post....
pelmet wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:14 pm It all happens in a quarter of a second and it is over as he gets his footing. It doesn't look like much but a hand-propping accident happens in an instant.

Start at 4:45. You can see the small stones at 6:45......
The key part that I talked about lasts about 1 second(with a 5 second lead-in)....for those that are trying to save time.
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valleyboy
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Re: Good footing for handpropping

Post by valleyboy »

Hand spanked many engines in my day from a J-3 to a DC-3 and most in between. Fuel injected flat engines are the most difficult and surprising enough round engines were the easiest and no tools required like ropes and trucks and such. Grab a hand full of prop and bobs your uncle. The single otter with the geared prop didn't work but a nordye, same engine and no geared prop was good for the hand spank, floats wheels and skis. The beech 18 was awkward on floats but the junior was a good starting engine so it was very doable.

Most conventional gear a/c I always tried to prop from behind the prop and this went for floats as well.

I remember propping a baron on the ramp in pembroke and all the "pilots" hanging around were horrified. I had a pilot behind the controls and fully briefed so I saw nothing wrong with it. Cpl flips and we were on our way.

I think like everything else, what was once an everyday experience, I learned to fly on a J3 with no electrics, it's a lost part of aviation and not done very often anymore. Do they even demonstrate this during flight training, not likely because of liability issues. The whole issue of airborne training "softening" and such is the sign of the times and worry about getting sued.
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tractor driver
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Re: Good footing for handpropping

Post by tractor driver »

Yep,
I think the times have changed favouring caution. We had a J-3 on floats for the school. Took out the starter, etc., to save weight and “ allow” for larger students. Let the majority of them have a go at flipping it over. Everyone loved the idea as additional training. Was 20 yrs ago. Probably frowned upon now.
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