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Thread: Hand Propping

  1. #1
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    Default Hand Propping

    Was told today that a pilot in McGrath had a dead battery and decided to hand prop. Well as you can guess it didn't turn out well.. The idle must have been too high and it started moving without him and during it's run destroyed two other planes.... One of which was the AK State Trooper plane. Private plane had severe fuselage damage and the trooper plane had a wing broken. The runaway plane suffer a prop strike and extensive damage as well.

    Said day but lesson to be learned..

    I know other pilots hand prop without the aid of another person. What do you do to insure your plane doesn't become a runaway?


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  2. #2

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    I have only had to hand prop a few times and then I got someone else to prop while I sat in plane. There are lots of things you could do to prevent a runaway. Tie the tail, Block the wheels, Pull the mixture. turn fuel off. Best is to have pilot in plane but that won't work a lot of time so best be prepared to do it alone. Tcrate next door has a quick release he uses when leaving the hanger. Hand props gets in plane and pulls rope to release the tail. I used to carry a set of plastic RV wheel blocks on a rope when I had my pacer. they did not weight more than a pound and I could pull them once I was in the plane. There was a good thread here or supercub.org that talked about it. It is something to think about. Better yet hanger flying with a few cold ones on the bad days.
    DENNY

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    Yeah I heard the same from McGrath. 2 cubs out. One was the trooper cub the other was the troopers personal cub. Saw some pics yesterday. Talk about tore up. Bummer for all involved.

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    Chalk it up to karma....was probably confiscated....

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    I had propped my old PA-11 for over a decade. In the summer I had to do so several times a day.

    When on wheels, I always had the tail tied down and used a slip knot when I was by myself.

    If you let the plane warm up while tied down, you can reduce the idle much further and often the plane does not move.

    I had parking park valves on my double pucks. Even my C-172 has working parking brakes. I have hand started that plane 10 or 15 times.

    Plus turning the tail wheel sideways or kicking a hole 3 of 4 inches deep in a gravel bar helps if you set the tailwheel down inside.

    When solo starting I always had the mix pulled out... That way it would only runs for a few seconds unless I was there to push it back in... If I was hurt the plane would die of fuel starvation.

    Always hand prop from BEHIND the propeller. With one hand to the rear holding unto to something so you are pulling yourself rearward, as you flip the prop with the right hand.
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    Any news articles ???
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I had propped my old PA-11 for over a decade. In the summer I had to do so several times a day.

    When on wheels, I always had the tail tied down and used a slip knot when I was by myself.

    If you let the plane warm up while tied down, you can reduce the idle much further and often the plane does not move.

    I had parking park valves on my double pucks. Even my C-172 has working parking brakes. I have hand started that plane 10 or 15 times.

    Plus turning the tail wheel sideways or kicking a hole 3 of 4 inches deep in a gravel bar helps if you set the tailwheel down inside.

    When solo starting I always had the mix pulled out... That way it would only runs for a few seconds unless I was there to push it back in... If I was hurt the plane would die of fuel starvation.

    Always hand prop from BEHIND the propeller. With one hand to the rear holding unto to something so you are pulling yourself rearward, as you flip the prop with the right hand.
    Hand propping reminds me of handling a loaded gun. The thinking person can mitigate most of the risks in a reasonable fashion and render it into a safe operation...if they spend the time to think it through and take reasonable precautions. Float Pilot has laid out a number of the options pretty well.
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    Darn it, I'm tired of spreading the reputation points around...I wanted to hit FP again...
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    I hand propped my cub for ten years before I ever had a plane with a starter. Always prop from behind if you're by yourself with your left hand holding on to the front of the door opening. Pulling the mixture is a good idea too however I never did that. I saw a QueenAir chew up a bonanza once when the pilot got out to remove the chock he forgot about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Any news articles ???
    None that I am aware of. I have work going on out there and heard about this from our guys.

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    oops.jpgNot a pretty sight....

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    When I had my 11AC I carried little metal chocks that I put long ropes on that would reach inside the cockpit. If I couldn't tie down the tail somewhere, I'd chock the tires, hand-prop the plane from behind the prop, climb in the right seat and pull that chock with the rope, then scoot over to the left seat and pull that chock with the rope. A lot of rigmarole, but I always too afraid to handprop the plane with out either tying down the tail and/or chocking the tires. Couldn't have afforded to fix anyone's plane if my plane got away and damaged another plane.

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    I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to hand prop a Cub alone. In an airport environment with a dead battery Cessna? I'd look for a jump before I hand propped it. The second choice would be to enlist help. The third would be to tie it down, which it appears was an available option. Accidents happen. Hopefully nobody got hurt.

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    The worst way to learn about hand propping is through the trial and error method. Many endeavors require guided instruction and this is one of them.

    My first experience was through trial and error, without any knowledge of impulse magnetos and a person in the cockpit that had no training either.
    A long story short...I barely moved the prop,engine started,prop glanced off my knuckle and I received a huge shot of adrenaline and jumped back. Had the engine had more than idle rpm I would not be here. One suture to the knuckle for me and the fellow in the cockpit frozen in shock staring at the floor with the engine still running. No flying that day.

  15. #15
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    This thread about being outside the plane with the prop turning reminds me of an incident that happened a 4 or 5 years ago.


    Sammy the Lake Spider, Alex and the Birthday Girl:


    Sammy the spider lived inside the Wing Thru-Spar of the old PA-11 for many years.
    Every night he would make a web in the overhead frame tubing and every day he would crawl back into the Spar fairing to help teach fledgling seaplane pilots. He was a big lake spider about the size of a dime and he kept the interior free of mosquitoes.

    One warm summer day I found myself doing an introductory flight lesson for a 21st birthday. The proud father was standing on the shore with a video camera as we water taxied back and forth with me standing on the floats.
    This particular birthday girl had been very blessed and when she decided to remove her jacket, I had troubles in helping her arrange the shoulder straps in the proper locations...

    With the straps and my honor now intact, I started to turn around so I could walk back on the float and get into the rear seat..... But,,,, just then I saw that Sammy the Spider had a target lock on the poor girls cleavage which was exposed in the big Vee neckline of her tee-shirt.

    I was hoping that Sammy would just stay-put since my pretty young client had not been briefed on his presence...

    BUT NO DICE.....
    Sammy decided to rappel down for a better look......

    The young trainee then saw Sammy as he zip-lined past her eyes and headed for parts south...
    She FREAKED OUT..... !!!

    There was all sorts of screaming and swatting at her chest.... Sammy was unhurt as he rapidly made his way back up his rappel line...
    HOWEVER,,,,,,, The young wanna-be pilot had managed to slam the throttle full forward while she was thrashing around....

    Now I was out on the right float as we headed for McDonald's in the corner of Beluga Lake at full throttle. The wing strut was behind me and kept me from being swept rearward.
    First, my lucky 210th Squadron hat blew off into the lake, followed by my sun glasses, my cell phone and camera.

    I kept yelling at the gal to throttle back, but she continued to yell " SPIDER" while beating her shirt half to death....

    We were now closing in on the McDonald's corner of Beluga lake at 30 knots ( Carb heat was out) and I saw that Sammy was starring at me. All eight of his eyeballs had that pleading look of impending doom...

    I managed to fight the blasting winds enough to reach the mixture knob and just about pulled it out of the panel. Then I had to hold on as we came to a stop into the tall swamp grass along the lakes edge...

    My pre-flight briefings changed dramatically from that day onward...
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    LOL!!..........
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Float Pilot again.
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    That's a great story, Float Pilot!

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    The flight school I work for has a PA11 that we hand prop. It's dual - only for customers, but I should be soloed in it soon. I was wondering the same thing. I guess I would just keep the tail tied with a slip knot like mentioned above until I was ready to go.

    I haven't read the whole thread, so my apologies if this has already been mentioned, but we start on one mag to limit power and further help to prevent an accident.

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    You start on one mag because the Cub has only one impulse coupling and it'll kick back if you start on two. That has nothing to do with runaway plane safety. Ask your boss to show you how to solo start safely, including when tying down isn't practical. Pilots have been doing it for a hundred years.

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