One More Time: Chocks And Tiedowns


In the publishing biz—mainly broadcasting—we have something called a PSA, a public service announcement. You see these all the time when the station discharges its duty to keep the citizenry duly informed about stocking up on hurricane supplies, not driving through flood water and remembering to vote.

Think of this week’s video as a PSA. While colleagues Niles and Berge were holding down the balloon and UAP beat and having remarkable success, I was sweeping cyberspace for I-thought-we-knew-not-to-do-this videos. “This” is propping an airplane without a using chocks and tiedowns. Not either or. Both. Yeah, I know, the hairy chested among us stand behind the prop and in the door to swing through. It usually works, but sometimes there are … issues. It adds some risk. If you’re OK with that, you have been warned. (Pro Tip: If it does get away, don’t try to hold a wing to stop it. Just call your insurance agent.)

As the embedded video, which rocketed around the web like a rubber check in a tile bathroom last week, shows, using neither chocks nor tiedowns invites disaster. And this happens three or four times a year.  Here’s hoping seeing this video will keep anyone from repeating the mistake. (The incident appears to have happened in 2020 and also appears to be cellphone video of a security camera.)


  1. …add to the list, don’t sweep your tail past an open hangar door turning to align for push back, a subset of manage your wake. Watched a couple of normally considerate t-hangar neighbors do this past my open door. They were truly sorry and oblivious to the potential impact if someone lightweight parts unsecured. I ref’d Rodney Dangerfield’s wake management in a marina. They were not spring chickens either, so seems time for a reminder.

  2. Based on the apparent lack of a fuel leak – it seems that Piper came with the armored fuel tank option….

    • You have to look closely, but there is actually fuel spilling out. The tank is inboard of the wing damage, with the damage just catching the outboard edge of the tank, which is where the fuel spills from in the video.

  3. Thank you, Paul, for the video. Among the many take-aways from this incident, is a remined of just how fragile the aircraft structure is.

  4. Watched a guy some years back leave his 180’s cockpit, while engine idling on the ramp- so he could yammer on his cell phone, no chocks or tie downs.

    I pointed out that it was a really lousy idea to do this, he told me to ‘F*off, I’ve got the parking brake set’.

    You meet the very best, and the very worst, people in an aviation career

  5. No way was this guy going to catch his airplane. He forgot to take into account his body would shift into slo-mo because he yelled “NOOO-OOO-OOooo…” Maybe he never saw the movie.

  6. Paul, if you’re hand propping your Cub after you’ve pulled it away from the fuel pumps, is this exception to tying down the tail? Just using your big-boy chocks.

    • I never make exceptions. Remember, I had it get away once. I was lucky. If there’s a qualified pilot in the cockpit, I’ll still chock or tie, but wouldn’t skip them both. I simply cannot bear looking this stupid.

      • Speaking of looking stupid, after banging my left knee against the throttle while worming my way into the Cub, I now watch my knee and the throttle like a ballplayer watches the ball all the way to the catch.

        • BT,DT, but elbow. Funny how it goes right to full throttle. “Oh, what the hell, I just take off right here in the hangar alley.”

  7. So close! He almost made it around the wing and into the cockpit. I’m sure the next time he uses this start up technique he’ll move a little quicker and be successful.

    • Not even close! His only chance was a Dukes of Hazzard slide over the wing right to the door, he had no chance of getting around that wing and into the cockpit in time.

  8. Did he influence the trajectory by trying to pull on the left wing? Wonder where the plane would have gone otherwise?