Starting a Rotary Engine…

Spotted on the Tubes of You — a hand-prop start of a rotary engine.

Now, for everyone else, this could be labeled “How Not To…”. No, nobody was puréed by the spinning prop. But there were so many possibilities for things to go pear-shaped rather quickly.

  • Inside of a hangar
  • Against a wall
  • The position of controls and the motor (and prop!) limit your vectors for egress
  • Walking around a spinning prop
  • Without ear protection (or eye protection)
  • And horrifying hand-propping technique involving walking slowly backward

Steve Thorn (FlightChops) and Kris Finkbeiner (with TacAero) demonstrates what we like to call the right way to hand-prop.

I rather like the effort Steve has shared in aviation through FlightChops. Rather inspiring, honestly.

A few last moment remarks on walking (staggering?) backward — and this applies to walking, running, bicycling, motorcycles, cars, trucks… but probably not locomotives (unless you’re its engineer):

Always watch where you’re going.

Never watch where you were.

Remain focused on the now and never fixate on what was.

Also, also: Just remembered that Steve did a couple of episodes on hand-propping. Here’s one that he covered on a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver:

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