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Propeller Safety
Author: Courtesy of Jim's R/C

I thought this page is a pretty good addition to the rest. Please read over so that you may learn from this example!!

I was recently browsing the web when I came across a fellow by the name of Jim Ross. Jim resides in Houston, Texas. Like us, he is a fellow RC hobbyist. Jim recently had a mishap with one of his scale aircraft. I will not go into the make of this airplane but I will say it was an ARF. Jim has given me permission to use the photos to help make the new guys and gals to this hobby and to reinforce or give a reality check to us experienced people what happens when a spinning prop jumps up to bite you. This fellow was flying an Extra 300xs ARF. Below is an excerpt of Jim's mishap.

I was at the field yesterday having a good time. The plane was flying great except the engine was trying to die out. I adjusted the carburetor and was ready to take off again when the firewall broke loose and the engine came towards me at full throttle and almost destroyed my right hand.

I lost the end of my thumb and got four real deep cuts on the side of my hand and fingers. The plastic surgeon put almost 100 stitches in my hand and had to trim off the end of my thumb. It now looks like a shovel with stitches in it. This is what happens when a 20" prop contacts a hand at about 7000 rpm. This is the plane that has a G-38 engine with a 20" APC prop turning at 7000 rpm. It did shut down immediately. But with only a few inches from the propeller to my hand and making about 17 lbs of thrust, it only takes milliseconds to travel from the meat. The engine wound up laying about 15 feet from the plane with mount and firewall attached. Heck, it didn't even break the prop.

I have been given a large dose of reality and I'm not so stupid as not to listen to it. Having been out of the hobby for some years, I follishly assumed that the ARF kits were of sufficient strength and sustenance to support that engine. Welcome back to the real world.

You can bet your sweet patootie that the next one won't fail in that manner. My judgement has been given a large boost in that direction. Hopefully, this will prevent another RC'er from making the same mistake. Below is a few pictures of the mishap aircraft and the outcome of the ordeal.

Warning: some pictures are graphic but are posted for the safety. (Photos 1, 2 & 3)

Note from the editor: For those of us that buy ARF's, please take the time to double check them. Especially the firewall, motor mount area, you can never have too much restraint in that area. Also, when tuning or using a tach, keep yourself behind the prop, and keep others out of the plane of rotation along with the front and sides of the prop disk.

I just received this one via email. Yet another Jim. Yikes, I'm starting to get worried, I am not liking the current trend here.

Simitar Pole Star with 12X7 prop on a worn out OS70, turning at 8,500 measured just before the accident. I had propped the transmitter up against the left wing for some stupid reason and when I reach for the transmitter I reached too close to that last half invisible inch of APC prop. Nine lacerations, 23 stitches and 4 more two days later. had to explain the damn thing to about a dozen doctors (teaching hospital). It's more of less ok now with a loss of feeling between top laceration and thumbnail and it burns when I try to fly in cold weather - only 30% of the people that shake hands notice it.

As another exaple of bad judgment, I drove myself to the hospital with my wife applying pressure to the wound. Like a lot of clubs, our flying site is a long way from major hospitals. With this happening late on a Sunday, I didn't want to trust this thing to a small community clinic so I drove 25 miles to the hospital that treats me for other things. The only thing that scared me was that fact that I am on major blood thinners and the blood that you see weeping from lacerations is after 45 minutes.....

First pic is the offending plane with my non-offending kids...second and third are before and after stitches. (Photos 4, 5 & 6)

Be careful out there.


Note fromthe editor: Ladies and gentleman, I just need to put my few words in here. Yes, yes, you probably heard it a million times and I don't like to hear it over and over but we need to be more careful out there. Make sure you fly with a buddy just in case something would happen and to eliminate many problems and situations that could end up with you spendiing the day in the hospital. Luckily most people do have someone with them. Also, and this is just me talking from my taining in the Air Force and my experience in the fire fighting community, bring a llight snack and a few bottles of water with you to keep in your vehicle, this way if something does happen, you have something to help combat shock and will keep you in a little better shape (just a thought). Take care all, and be same! Jim C. By the way, this is not criticism, merely trying to point out the morals of the stories. This is in no means meant to offend the unlucky ones in any way, shape, or form.

Here is a quick snippet for everyone, if you use a neck strap, Please keep it attached to your radio when starting your helicopter or airplane. I hate reading about incidents involving rotating parts and neck straps. its just much safer to take it off than to forget to tuck it in your shirt.

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Photo #2
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Photo #3
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Photo #4
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Photo #5
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Photo #6

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