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Hand Propping

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Mountain Pilot

Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2010
Reaction score
I found this on the Cessna 172 Web site. Very good information, I know what they are talking about for I started hand propping my fathers Luscombe in 1956. I also was 12

On Propping an Airplane:

I was taught how to corrrectly prop an airplane at the age of 12. There is a method and a procedure. It is a very safe procedure if one is taught by someone who knows what they are doing.

It's a good skill to have, so many people around the airport today have no idea that it was once a common, every-day thing to prop a plane.

A few rules or what we call today "Best Practices":

1. The person swinging the prop is in charge. His directions are to be carried out exactly and immediately. All settings must be verified and confirmed clearly. The person operating the controls should shut-up and pay attention. If anything is uncertain or unclear to the person operating the controls he must immediately verify that the mag switch is set to off and loudly declare his uncertainty to the person swing the prop.

2. On-lookers and bystanders should get away and stay away.

3. If the person swinging the prop suspects the person occupying the pilot's seat doesn't understand, or is unwilling to promptly cooperate then all actions must stop.

4. Don't prop a plane for an idiot.

5. All momentum is away from the propeller. Down and Away. Down and Away.

6. Chocks save lives.

7. Head up. If you duck your head you might duck forward.

8. If you can't tell when an engine feels "juicy and ready" then stay away. You are not ready.

9. Don't waste your time on electronic ignition aircraft (ie: DiamondStar). No amount of propping will change the fact that they must have a hot battery to start.

10. Slick, icy or sloppy footing will kill you.

11. Only a man can prop a Navion.

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