P. Edronkin

Aeronautical Survival: Never Run Around Aircraft

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A simple rule that anyone who hand-props an aircraft engine should observe is to walk slowly around it, and never run.

Starting up such an engine requires - for safety reasons - of at least two persons: one sits at the cockpit and is responsible for actuating the engine's controls, and the other one does the actual work of moving the propeller by hand until the engine begins to run.

Generally speaking, if the propeller operator is a crew member, after the engine starts he or she may begin to move quickly in order to jump into the aircraft, but this attitude would be a mistake, and a dangerous one.

Aircraft equipped with autonomous starting systems are indeed not so potentially dangerous, and crew members will generally be onboard at the moment when the engine is fired up, so there is a lesser chance of hastily done movements outside and around the danger area.

Running or walking fast and near an aircraft can cause a serious - if not deadly - accident; a misstep can throw anyone against a big, sharp thing turning at thousands of RPM.

Oddly enough, this is seldom mentioned in manuals and courses; but a very simple rule to enhance safety for all those on the airport's platform is that we should never to run around aircraft, no matter how much or how little experience we have, because anyone could fall and the laws of physics make no exceptions.

Thanks to the Museo del Ejército del Aire of Spain for this picture
You will be very close to the engine while hand propping it; be careful!

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