Miniplane creator Diego starting his own machine

For clutch equipped machines | Rope Trick II another version

As we’ve covered, props eat body parts on a regular basis. Clutched machines are no better since, although the prop may not spin at idle, it sure spins up fast at throttle-up. Further, the fact that a unit is clutch equipped may lure pilots into a more casual approach to their running machine—a misplaced trust.

Francesco DeSantis came up with this safety improvement for clutched machines, the Prop-Stopper rope—an easy-to-build device that prevents the prop from spinning while you start the machine. Even at full power it would stop the prop. Yes, that would obviously be hard on the clutch, but a clutch is cheaper to replace than a hand. And much less messy.

This piece of rope with a short tube attaches to the prop in such a way that it can’t spin, even if the throttle were at full. Then the pilot gets buckled in and removes the rope while seated, nearly eliminating the possibility of an accidental prop strike during startup.

Prop Stopper

The safest way to start a machine is with it on your back like Miniplane maker, Diego is doing here. If you have a choke, make sure it’s choked, start it on the ground choked since it can’t go to full power choked, unchoke it then put it on your back and start it.

But reality means that sometimes we have to putz with our machines to get them going. When a motor is being difficult to start, that’s a prime time to get bit and a great time to have a rack or other support.