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Propeller Safety Reminder

Old 11-03-2003, 09:46 PM
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sedunster
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Default Propeller Safety Reminder

First let me preface this with I WAS STUPID. Please learn from my stupidity... I know what I did wrong, please don't post to remind me. Also, I do not want sympathy. I made the mistake, I will live with the consequences.

With that said, a short reminder that a 12.25" APC prop spinning 13,000+ rpm is very dangerous. I do not have a digital camera, and I would be too embarassed to post a picture of my hand.

Saturday, I was tuning a Super Tigre 61. From the front, I read the tach at 13,400 and reached widely around the prop to tweak the high end needle. Although I reached around widely, the heel of my hand crossed the prop arc. The propeller cleared away the skin from my palm for about 1 square inch in a crescent pattern. It looks as though I was struck 15-20 times. Fortunately, the injury is only skin deep. I believe a few points need to be made/learned from my SCREW UP.

1. Many people practice safety with RC. I did 90+% of the time. For me that number will now be 100%.
2. It is too easy to stop/never follow safe practices. If you need pain to force safety, trust me IT HURTS.
3. Keep BEHIND the propeller at all times. If you don't, IT MIGHT HURT.
4. Use common sense. If you forget it like I did, I hope the severity of your injury doesn't keep you from being able to work.

I don't want to sound like I am preaching, but I don't want anyone else to get hurt if it can be avoided. I spend too much time on RCU to not care about other members. I have not been injured before in the last 2 1/2 years. Chalk it up to safe practices and/or luck. The next 25 years will be injury free due to SAFE PRACTICES. (with an ugly scar as a reminder) Darn the luck.

Steve
Old 11-03-2003, 10:41 PM
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Tmoth4
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

I used to reach around props to make adjustments until about 10 years ago when a guy at my field did the same thing you did, except his multiple lacerations were on his forearm. I didn't actually see it happen but I'll never forget the sound of that prop chewing into his flesh. I have never reached around props since, even though I've been tempted to. I fly only big gassers now and can't imagine the damage one of those props would do to your hand or arm. Hats-off to you for owning up and reminding all of us of this safety issue.

Jim
Old 11-03-2003, 11:55 PM
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sedunster
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Jim,
Sparing some detail, the motor slowed about 1000 rpm as it shaved my hand. There were small pieces of skin stuck to my shirt sleeve after the incident. It could have been much worse, I am just glad that it wasn't.

Steve
Old 11-04-2003, 01:34 AM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Ouch, good post.
Old 11-04-2003, 11:36 AM
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RedWing
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

It all happens soooo fast!

I was holding a 38% extra with a DA 100 while the pilot was starting it.
Luckily it did not fire when the prop hit his hand.
Another flyer sitting in his car in the parking area heard the strike.
Ouch, no blood but I am sure it was numb for a while
Old 11-04-2003, 11:53 AM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Man, that hurts. It is a good point though. Many of us, no matter how carefull we think we are, have done it.

Complacency sets in, and we get reminded the hard way. Hope you heal fast and can get back to it soon.
Old 11-04-2003, 04:36 PM
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rclooney
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

just turning an engine with no combustion can hurt. i did it turning a diesel. just lubing it and the engine kicked back and hit me.no finger guard, just a big dent in my finger.
Old 11-05-2003, 01:04 AM
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Antique
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

You don't have to close to the prop..I have a picture of a friend with 4 fingers bandaged up..He was about 6 feet in front of his plane, had a .90 four stroke on it..It backfired, the prop came off..He put his hand up to shield his face..Cut all 4 fingers bad enough for stitches..Our field record for stitches is 25, a very experienced pilot forgot he was tuning a pusher engine, reached for the needle...[&o]
Old 11-05-2003, 02:00 AM
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GrnBrt
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

You can't remind people to much about this. I have a nice scar on my forearm to remind me. I have been at this since the 50's and am proud to say that I have had very few injuries but it can happen. There is a guy that flies at this one field that reaches around the prop all the time and no amount of warnings helped, well he got it one day and after he was bandaged up guess what???? Yup he still does it, now stupid is as stupid does!!!
Old 11-05-2003, 02:07 AM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Yup he still does it, now stupid is as stupid does!!!
Amen!

Watch those fingers!
Old 11-05-2003, 03:35 AM
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speed_freak1
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

i was lucky enough to be tuning my irvine .53 ( i know it is a small engine compared to what you guys use) but my hand slipped onn the needle and the prop went "BANG" the very tip of the prop (about 1/2 inch) embedded in to my right index finger (on the knuckles) and it stoped the engine. it hurt like hell and i have a nice dent in my knuckle.

so even if you stay behind the prop STILL BE CAREFUL!!
Old 11-05-2003, 02:19 PM
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zxcv11
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Hmmmm....17 stiches here.....1 knuckle bared to bone/tendon. 3/4 finger nail removed. 3 fingers scars and a funky finger nail later(joint still aches too)....needless to say I don't go near a prop anymore without major concentration. All it took was adjusting needle-valve and 5 seconds of not concentrating. My father says he'll never forget that sound......I will never forget it, or the pain either. One good point....new name for the aircraft....'The Bloody Stump'!! Ironic it's already covered bright red...LOL

Good post....it can never be over-posted/stated!!!!!!!

Brian
Old 11-06-2003, 01:23 AM
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sedunster
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder (OUCH)

I must say that I am glad to see the positive feedback from this post. I don't feel quite so stupid as I am (was).....

My intention with this post was to make people think about an issue that most neglect. I had brushed a prop here and there with no major injuries. FlyBoy hit it on the head with one word: COMPLACENCY. I was thinking that while I typed the original post.

I am healing well. The challenging thing has been to work with a bandage on my right hand and to keep it clean. I do physical work, so I keep it covered with a glove on my right hand over the bandage. Too many Michael Jackson references have been stirred. Four days with no sign of dirt or infection. I am a happy man.

Guys, thank you for taking the time to respond.

Steve
Old 11-06-2003, 04:41 AM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder (OUCH)

Good post!! It is easy to become complacent if you run across the freeway a hundred times without getting hit, and likewise it is easy to be complacent around engines just 'cuz we do it all the time. [&o]

One of our club members lost his right forefinger to the first knuckle to a prop some time ago.... Everyone has been VERRRYY careful around spinning propellers since. [>:]

Best,

Jim
Old 11-06-2003, 04:51 PM
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ballgunner
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder (OUCH)

I remember ignition engines from the 30's when we started them by hand. If you started them without retarding the spark they'd backfire and nab you. The poor things were not powerful enough to do much damage. You might get bit when you reached around to advance the spark but usually not even broken skin. Most needle valves were aft of the cylinder but the spark advance was usually directly behind the prop which were always wood. Unfortunately I acquired some bad habits that stuck. Returning from WWII and into glow engines I had to learn the hard way. Scars are the evidence to prove that I did. Reminding people that these are not toys but really powerful engines can never be done too often. Thanks
Old 11-07-2003, 03:36 PM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder (OUCH)

It is because of stories like you guys have written, that I have been very careful around props, and show them, and the engines turning them, a great deal of respect--THANKS! I read somewhere that if you paint the tip of the prop white it will be easier to see, and you will be less likely to get close to it. I painted a few white, and a couple red to give it a try. It doesn't seem to help when I am starting and adjusting the engine much at all. Looks cool on the run way, but unfortunately not where I need it.
Old 11-07-2003, 03:59 PM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

ORIGINAL: RCIGN1

You don't have to close to the prop..I have a picture of a friend with 4 fingers bandaged up..He was about 6 feet in front of his plane, had a .90 four stroke on it..It backfired, the prop came off..
I have shared this before, but will again. I was at the field and we were breaking in a saito 180. It had a double nut system, so I thought. The guy only put one on. It was running full throttle, and Tim kept telling us to get behind the prop arc. As I walked behind the plane, I thought to myself "there is no way that engine could throw that prop, never seen one do it in 27+ years" and the thought had not even finished in my head and ZING!, the prop and spinner nut and all went flying. The prop went about 6 feet, hit the pit fence, and landed all the way across the runway. We never found the nut or washer. They can and will throw a prop.

Good thing we have people like Tim watching out for us dummys who get complacent.
Old 11-07-2003, 04:19 PM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Two months ago a guy was tweaking his YS 91 in the pits. I was walking by about ten feet in front of it when he got it to lean and it backfired. The spinner hit me in the arm and took off some skin from the spinning action. The prop went sideways as they tend to do but fortunately did not hit anyone.

The moral of the story is take your plane with a four stroke away from everyone when your dialing in the top end.
Old 11-07-2003, 04:41 PM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Kinda, thinking out loud here. Would like some opinions from those of you who have been around the hobby longer than me.

I started an airplane 8 years ago but lost interest. Dug it out this past spring a finished it and then went on to summer of fun.

My question is, since the engine I had was purchased in 1995 it still has the needle valve on the carb . No way can I reach around to tweak it. But no almost all the engines now have the needle valves mounted on the back cover. I assume this move was to keep our fingers away from the prop.

Do you think this logic backfired because now you can reach around the prop for a quick twist?
Old 11-07-2003, 04:43 PM
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goneflyn
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

They (4 strokes) have a tendancy to spit the prop more often with the glow ignitor attached--according to my personal experience. I never run mine up more than a third throttle with it still on. It's not a guarantee, I have lost two props in the air, but, it is more likely with the ignitor.
Old 11-08-2003, 12:44 PM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

I have a new found love and that is flyin! I do it for a livin so now I thought that I would do it as a hobby! It is awesome to be able to come here and read these events and "Accidents." As my first post on this forum, I want to thank sedunster and everyone else who are looking out for the rest of us newbies and Aces!

Thanks,
Weloadmaster
Old 11-09-2003, 11:06 AM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Even ducted fans can be dangerous - 15 years ago I was adjusting a Dynamax fan with a Rossi .81 -running at full power - reached across the top to do the fuel line "pinch/lean test" -and INSTANTLY it sucked my fingers into that rotor spinng at 23,000 rpm -it is amazing how red blood really is - 23 stitches to fix my fingers and there is STILL numbness there........

BE CAREFUL PILOTS !

Jackjet
Old 11-09-2003, 01:12 PM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Well, this happened last weekend....

Running an Evan's Pole Star. I thought the safest thing would be to start and tune it on one of our fields run-up stands which has twoxfours to hold the wing, since the tail on the polestar doesn't have a stab and could slip out of a helper's hands. I unfortunately (and without forethought!) placed the xmtr leaning against the left wing panel. After tuning up my 9 year old O.S. 70 to it's best attempt at full power, I reached around the APC 12x6 for the xmtr and forgot that the last half inch or so of that gray APC is invisible at even a mild idle (~3000rpm).
Result: 9 lacerations starting at the base of right thumb and traveling down the pad to almost the wrist, one ER visit with wife and two kids along, 23 stitches then and 4 more next day..... and ruined my best Jimmy Buffet T-Shirt.... It hurts to even type, since I damaged two tendons and won't recover use of the thumb for a few months.

Before and after stitches pix attached. Don't look if you're not a fan of bloody horror movies!

Be careful out there. I'm setting here looking out the window at a cold but nice flying day and the guys from the club are out at the field flying....
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Old 11-09-2003, 02:27 PM
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goneflyn
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Yikes! You must have been reaching pretty fast. I am not good at math, but, according to my calculations, you received all that in less than 1/10 of a second! Bummer! They (props) truely don't care do they?
Old 11-09-2003, 03:49 PM
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Default RE: Propeller Safety Reminder

Jim......

Arrrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!! []
That sux man. Hope ya heal soon!! [8D]

Brian

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