It Won’t Start if it’s Tied Down

This is about hand propping your Legal Eagle or the Double Eagle.

I started flying legally in 1970.  I have had the misfortune to have witnessed seven hand propping accidents. I believe that I stopped one just a couple of weeks back. I warned an airline captain that what he was doing was very dangerous. 

He was hand propping a home build plane with only a couple of  2 × 4’s, in front of the tires. He had gotten all out of “sync” with the throttle settings, the priming, the propping and the switch settings. I told him “tie that thing down for your family’s sake; you scared the bejabbers out of me.” 

I have witnessed pilots arrive at the airport at their tie down, and first thing untie the airplane only to find the battery is dead.  Then they start a hand-propping ordeal of priming, throttle settings, and switch settings.  Remember, it’s still untied; it’s a real recipe for disaster.  

I always start my Legal Eagle engine standing at the rear of the prop. I pull the prop with my left hand, while the right hand is either on the switch or the throttle.  A Better Half VW engine will usually start very easy, if the fuel mixture is proper.  And they will start if they are tied downLet it warm up, while you are getting ready to go flying.  I usually have a friend untie the plane while I am setting in the cockpit.

In the future, I will get in the cockpit and turn the key to start the engine after I have the Briggs & Stratton alternate engine installed.