Paramotor Maiming & the "Rope Trick" aka "Prop
For clutch equipped machines |
Hands, limbs, and heads are getting mutilated at an increasing rate.
Experienced pilots are most at risk.
Clutched machines are no safer than others UNLESS
you do the following. Are you a student? Does your instructor use
something like this? Ask him to. Point out that the statistics for prop
injuries are disgusting and probably half of them could be cured by this
simple method. Other methods are available for non-clutched machines and
we'll present that when a good example is created. Do you have a good,
easy, practical suggestion? Simple braces or stands that
prevent the motor from going forward have already been suggested. Shoot
us your pictures.
1. Have a rope or strap that can be placed quickly on the prop and
wrapped around the frame in a way that it would stop the prop even if it
accidentally went to full power.
2. The rope/strap must not be able to slip off without the user
3. Make sure it's clear of hot parts.
4. It must be easy to remove WITHOUT putting your hand in or near the
5. Use normal starting precautions, calling "clear prop," guarding
the kill switch, verifying idle, insuring cruise control is off, and
holding the throttle in a way that won't throttle up more if the cage
lunges forward. These are limb-saving habits that must be maintained
when you're starting a machine without protection.
6. Make sure it's strong enough. If the prop is held near its tip
then it has leverage and doesn't need to be as strong. But it's also
more likely to fall off. Make sure that's not possible.
7. Only use the "Rope Trick" when you want to avoid being chopped up.
This implementation is an
Ozone wing strap. Start the motor, let it idle, remove this before
getting ready to fly and put it in the side pocket. It's easy to make
your own using strapping material and buckles from a hardware store.
Thanks to Francesco DeSantis for the idea.
Pap prop covers come with a strap that attaches to
Even if it bends the cage that would be cheaper than
surgering a chopped limb back together.
A secondary benefit is that
the prop won't spin in the wind when transporting or in the field.
Thanks to Jespers Albers for the photo.
It's always safer to start the paramotor when it's on your back!
Prop injuries can and do still happen during launch, landing, and
even walking around if the throttle is squeezed. That's why
your paramotor should have a second hoop just inside the diameter of the
prop or sufficient cage clearance to keep a hand out. It won't prevent
all accidents but it will certainly help a lot. I know of *NO* hand or
body injuries on a machine equipped with the 2nd hoop or with an
appropriately designed cage.
Remember, these won't SOLVE the problem but will reduce it. Take all
the usual precautions, be thoughtful, smart, and careful, and ALWAYS use
These injuries are maiming pilots monthly!!!
For a properly adjusted clutched motor where the prop doesn't spin at
idle, this will incur no wear unless you throttle up. Then the clutch
shoes will wear just like brake pads on a car wheel.
This works for motor starting risk. There is still risk for prop
injury during flight, mostly on launch and landing, which can be
dramatically reduced by having a second hoop or appropriately strong cage
as shown below and on the "Cages"
The hoop is held on with
wire ties which is fine since forces are mostly against the radial arms.
This makes getting a body part in the prop much more difficult. It's
still possible, of course, but much less likely.
your hand at the most vulnerable spot, where the hand is shown, and
squeezing the prop against it with your other hand. WithOUT
the 2nd hoop (safety ring) it takes VERY little. With the hoop it takes
considerably more. The hoop must be installed inside the prop diameter by 1
to 2 inches and forward of the radial arms for
For more info on
this go here.
Thanks to Dana Scheetz who
did the work and provided a picture.
So what percentage of the fleet have clutches?
Here is a poll of facebook users where you can see and contribute.