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Aviation Learning Center Document Propwatcher's Guide - P-8740-37
Author: FAA Date: unknown
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Every year people are seriously injured or killed by walking into aircraft propellers. As a pilot, you are the key person in preventing these accidents.

  • Always brief your passengers on the safe routes to and from the airplane, and stress that the area around the propeller is dangerous..
  • Emphasize that the greatest danger of the propeller is its being invisible when rotating.
  • Need assistance? First shut your engine down and brief your assistants on their assigned task. Emphasize that the area around the propeller is to be avoided.
  • Never ask an untrained person to hand prop your aircraft.
  • Never ask an unqualified person to hold the brakes or operate the engine controls while you swing the propeller.

Briefing Points


  • Approach the airplane only on the passenger entrance side.
  • Walk behind the wing from outboard of the wingtip toward the entry door, except when the engines are stopped and the cabin entry door is forward of the wing.
  • Never walk under the wing, except to enter the cabin door.
  • Always stay clear of the propeller(s) whether the engine(s) is running or not.


  • Walk directly behind the wing toward the wingtip when leaving the airplane, except when the cabin exit door is forward of the wing. Wait until the propeller has stopped rotating and always avoid the propeller area.
  • Do not walk under the wing.
  • Walk to the wingtip before changing your exit path.
  • Avoid the area of the engine and propeller of any aircraft whether the engine(s) is running or not.


When practical, the airplane engine(s) should be shut down for loading or discharging passengers or cargo. Paths to and from the airplane should be the same as listed above.

Hand propping an aircraft engine can only be justified under extreme circumstances. Aircraft with sophisticated electrical systems and/or avionics equipment should not be dispatched with a dead or weak battery.

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