Top Letters And Comments, January 10, 2020


Carpe Propum! (Seize The Prop!)

Mr. Berge’s piece was enjoyable and unexpected.

I was taught to hand prop a Ryan STA forty-five years ago by an old, pre-WWII USAF sergeant pilot. He wasn’t into interpersonal relations or his trainee’s self-esteem, and along with his insistence that I learn cross wind landing techniques in gusty twenty knot or more winds, was the scariest part of my flight training. One thing about the Ryan is that its unreliable Menasco inverted inline engine provided lots of practice opportunities. It would be impossible (or incredibly expensive) now, but in those days, we flew the no radio plane to KSFO to display it at an event, and when it was over the Menasco wouldn’t start. It took nearly an hour of hand cranking by me and a couple of others in the support crew to get it going for the flight back to KVCB. Hand propping confidence and technique always improve with time on task!

Stephen P.

If the battery is dead take it out and get it properly charged with a good charger. You will dramatically reduce the life of the battery if you hand prop an airplane with a dead battery as the voltage regulator will slam it with a massive amount of amps as soon as the engine starts

All my commercial students who were going to bush or float jobs got a lesson on hand propping so they had an option if they got stuck with a dead battery in a bad place. But I emphasized this was an emergency get home deal, not something you want to make a habit of

I never move a prop without thinking the engine may start and I cringe when I see so many pilots level the prop by wrapping their hand right around the blade

The last time I hand propped a plane it was a Nanchang. There was no air pressure for the starter so we chocked and tied down the plane and I primed the cylinders and then felt for a cylinder to go TDC. I then told the pilot to hit the boost coil and it banged right away with the owner catching it with a shot of prime. A hand start without touching the prop, it doesn’t get better than that!

David G.

I hand-prop when I have to, but I really don’t recommend it to anybody if it can be avoided. It’s one of the most dangerous things that you can ever do, and the consequences are permanent.

  • take your time securing the plane from rolling, preferably tied down and with chocks
  • set your controls correctly, especially the throttle friction lock
  • lean away from the prop
  • have your fingers slide away from the prop arc immediately

Don’t underestimate how badly this can turn out.

James B.

ADS-B: Just One More Thing…

I just watched the video clarifying the requirement for ADS-B along the eastern edges of the LAX Class B airspace. Thank you for the video and the explanation.

HOWEVER, the comments made at the 4:10 mark regarding the B-737 MAX were unnecessary, did nothing to contribute to the subject of the video and were very unprofessional and inflammatory.

First of all, the MAX has not yet been recently re-certified which has caused tremendous challenges for the airlines that have purchased it, the traveling public and the crews that have been directly impacted by its grounding. Additionally, when the re-certification is completed and the aircraft is placed in service, we are facing a very long and difficult road to restoring the public’s confidence in the airplane. Granted your audience is not the general public, but General aviation pilots not familiar with the B-737 or large transport category aircraft in general could also get a very distorted view of the situation from those remarks.

Stick to the subject of your video and leave out the flawed commentary.

Let’s also consider that those extensions were there long before the MAX every came into existence and are there for the protection of both the airliners arriving at LAX and the general aviation pilots transiting the area northbound. I have flown in that airspace in both capacities.

Ray W.

Poll: What Do You Think of the Unexplained Drone Swarms?

  • I would like to know what it’s all about simply out of curiosity but as far is those folks getting all uptight about it…get a life!
  • “All is well…remain calm.”
  • 1. Some observers are making a Big Deal out of nothing. 2. Those flying the drones likely know the anxiety they are creating – if they do not take steps to quell that, then idiotic regulation will be enacted to stop what they are doing.
  • I smell some “emergency” rule making…Just takes one moron to screw it up for everyone!
  • Get a knowledgeable observer out there.
  • Drones will eventually cause a midair. FAA should take it seriously.
  • Would like to know, but let’s not create a bunch of new rules and restrictions before understanding what’s going on.
  • It’s classified.
  • Absolutely hilarious.
  • Is the FAA enforcing its new drone rules?
  • Harmless now, but could morph into dangerous behavior.
  • Constitutes a clear and present danger to the security of US citizens (specifically pilots flying legally at night).
  • Space Invaders from Mars.
  • Gov’t activity. Who else has the money?
  • I think it’s a hazard to flight operations and should be investigated.
  • Military exercises.
  • Skynet.
  • The government has draconian legislation pending in a NRPM to restrict drone activity via transponders.
  • No doubt they are practicing for the halftime show.
  • They should have transponders so they can be tracked and prosecuted if operated unlawfully.
  • People will need to get used of it if Amazon gets it way!
  • All the more reason to mandate ADS-B for drones ASAP! That’s probably why that NPRM came out on Dec 31?
  • More entertaining than GoT.
  • They are the military testing attack scenarios for missile silos.
  • Are they a hazard?
  • Swamp gas.
  • If they circle over my place, I will get very involved to put them back on the ground until further notice is given as to their mission….
  • Since research has been published about AI formation flight, it will become the most insidious use of UAS against people (read: Your citizens).
  • Operated by a bunch of smug gamesters loving the fact that they’re stirring up the Whuffos while scratching their own “getting away with something” itch.
  • False flag op stirring up support for the new remote ID proposal.
  • Are they from Area 51?
  • This type of activity needs to be known in advance for air safety as well as the path to and from the site.
  • Starlink satellite swarm.
  • What difference does it make if you know or not? It’s creepy just the same.
  • Maybe they only feed at night.
  • Obviously Air Force exercises.
  • Shoot a few down and you’ll find out what’s going on real soon.
  • Drones over a few ounces are deadly and unregulated flight should be stopped.
  • I think it’s mass hysteria or they are seeing trains of Starlink satellites in the first few days after launch, when they are mostly still in a linear formation. See if there is a correlation between the time/location of observations and the satellites visibility.
  • They’re obviously classified military drones. Whoop-dee-doo.
  • Nothing will change until a drone kills airline passengers. Until then, keep scanning.
  • College kid prank.
  • Just some more of Big Brother’s antics.
  • I think they are real alien UFOs.
  • FBI, TSA, CIA surveillance equipment.
  • Mass hallucination? Killer bees?

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