Aviation Learning Center Document Propwatcher's Guide - P-8740-37
Author: FAA Date: unknown
used for alignment
used for alignment

Introduction
used for alignment

The purpose of this series of pamphlets is to provide the flying public with safety information that is convenient and easy to review. This pamphlet contains safety tips and checklists for pilots and operators to use in briefing passengers on procedures that will prevent their being struck by rotating propellers or rotor blades while boarding or exiting the aircraft.

used for alignment
Floatplanes
used for alignment

Every year people are seriously or fatally injured by floatplane propellers. These accidents can happen when inexperienced persons attempt to assist the pilot in docking the floatplane, or when the safety zones on the dock, float, or pier are inadequate to protect bystanders from rotating propellers.

As a pilot, you are the key person in preventing these accidents. Tips:

  • Approach the dock with as little speed as practical.
  • Stop the engine(s) prior to reaching the dock when possible.
  • Approach the dock at a 45 degree angle or less to allow a slower speed for docking, and provide a wing for dock attendants to catch rather than a turning propeller.
  • Tie the aft float strut to the dock first, as it is the farthest from the propeller. The bow cleat should not be used until there is no longer a possibility of propeller rotation.

Never ask an untrained person to hand prop your aircraft.

The airplane engine(s) should be shut down for loading or unloading passengers. Walkways should be identified by barriers or lines painted on docks, floats, and piers to direct passengers and bystanders away from the area near the propellers.

Briefing Points

Boarding

  • Walk onlyin designated walkways.
  • Neverwalk under the wing, except to enter the cabin door.
  • Always stay clear of the engine(s) and propeller(s). The danger area is usually identified by red lines painted on the airplane float.
  • Step carefully from the dock or pier, to the airplane float or entry steps.

Exiting

  • Step carefully onto the dock, float, or pier and walk only in designated walkways when provided.
  • When walkways are not provided, walk toward the wingtip until clear of the engine(s) and propeller(s) before changing your exit path.
  • 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.

Other Safety Considerations During Floatplane Operations

Seatbelts and shoulder belts should be fastened during takeoff and landing. When provided, life jackets should be worn during taxi, takeoff, and landing. When floatation cushions are used, each passenger should have one.

used for alignment
Helicopters
used for alignment

Every year people are seriously or fatally injured by walking into helicopter rotor blades. As a pilot, you are the key person in preventing these accidents.

  • Always brief your passengers on the safe routes to and from the helicopter, and stress that the aft end of the helicopter must be avoided.
  • The danger lies in the fact that tail rotors become invisible when rotating.
  • When possible, the helicopter should be shut down for loading and unloading of passengers or cargo.

Briefing Points

Boarding

  • Approach the helicopter from the front side within the pilot's field of vision. Never approach a helicopter from the rear.
  • Carry all objects below your waist level - never upright or over the shoulder. Remove loose headgear, unless it is secured by a chinstrap.
  • Approach the helicopter from the downslope side when on uneven terrain.

Exiting

  • Walk to the side or forward of the helicopter when leaving the aircraft.
  • Never walk toward the aft end of a helicopter.
  • Before exiting the helicopter, secure your headgear chinstrap or remove it.
  • Keep any objects being carried below your waist level.
  • When operating around uneven terrain, exit on the downslope side or cross in front of the helicopter before walking away from the aircraft.

External Load Operation

When the load hookup is complete, ground personnel should move forward clear of the rotor blades before giving maneuvering signals to the pilot.

used for alignment
Landplanes
used for alignment

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

Boarding

  • 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.

Exiting

  • 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.

Loading

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.

used for alignment
About This Series
used for alignment

The purpose of this series of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Safety Program publications is to provide the aviation community with safety information that is informative, handy, and easy to review. Many of the publications in this series summarize material published in various FAA advisory circulars, handbooks, other publications, and various audiovisual products developed by the FAA and used in its Aviation Safety Program.

Some of the ideas an materials in this series were developed by the aviation industry. The FAA acknowledges the support of the aviation industry and its various trade and membership groups in the production of this series.

Comments regarding these publications should be directed to the National Aviation Safety Program Manager, Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Standards Service.

used for alignment