Learning Experiences:

Prop Strike!

Prop Strike 1This is part two of my post entitled Monday March 19th: More Frustration and Let Down and describes how my landing led to a strike on one tip of my propeller.

As I was coming in for a landing I noticed that the wind socks were showing a steady by occasionally gusting wind of what I estimated to be around 6-9mph. Prop Strike 2I set up accordingly, flew a standard approach and flared when I normally do. My mistake was in flaring too much with the wind speed. In doing so, it caused the wing to momentarily ‘cup’ the wind and jerk me up and back. This scenario I can see now could very easily lead to the phenomenon known as the ‘turtle’ effect where the PPG pilot winds up on their back – Uhhh… No good.

Anyhow, I came down on the lower part of the outer ring of the cage and… Wait for it, THE PROP! Crikies! That sucks for anyone who’s ever experienced it for the first time.
Prop Strike 3
You think about all kinds of things like having to balance, crikes even perhaps having to get the prop shaft checked for bending.. You think of everything. But in the end it turned out about as non-eventful as I could have imagined compared to how it could have turned out. After a call to my instructor and PPG mentor I was off  to Home Depot where I picked up various grit’s of sand paper, a file, and some clear gloss spray.

It was a fun project in the garage which I took pride in (I also decided I’d be painting my cage in a fresh coat of gloss black someday as well).
Prop Strike 4
The fix was relatively simple considering and took only an hour. I sanded the edge to perfection as best I could and simply re-coated it with a sheen of gloss which dried to the touch in about 20 minutes (with temps hovering around 67F in the garage). So little was taken off the tip – I estimate less then 1/16th of an inch – that lightly sanding well inward of the tip and re-coating that entire 8 inch section outward towards the tip made the balance come back into friendly territory without even having to remove the prop to check it. The next day I simply ran the motor on my back and didn’t feel any additional vibes. I would eventually like to build or purchase a prop balancer in the future.

Prop Strike 5So, all in all it was a good learning experience and I feel more confident and educated now as a result of it.  I did some reading and coming away from it, my additional thoughts are to ‘run out’ the landings where the wind is enough to kite the wing overhead or simply to not brake as much if I don’t run it out. Of question still though are times when it’s gusting and how to deal with that.
My best guess would be not to waste any time in getting the wing down ~ To turn around, and pull on the C’s to ‘break’ the wing and just get it down.

Prop Strike 6
This was my 12th flight. I am like a sponge, and if anything in this blog makes it easier for someone else in my shoes then it was worth writing about it. Writing about it also puts it into perspective and introspection for me, which enables me to digest these events further in spite of the fact that I’ve got a lot of distractions in my life outside of PPG. I’m looking forward to the time when other PPG pilots participate in the discussion as I consider it – all of it – to be a constant learning experience. PPG so far seems to be not something you eventually stop learning about. I suppose in that way it’s like photography –  and I hope it is – because I’d hate to ever stop advancing. Thanks for reading.