Caution: Fod to pusher props

January 1994

Foreign object damage to your EZ prop, such as a nick or gouge that you might tend to believe was gravel thrown up by the tires, probably is not from the tires at all but most likely is caused by something that fell out of the cowling (off the engine!). My 2100 hours of Long-EZ flight and over 700 hours of VariViggen flight have proven to me that almost invariably a ding in the prop, especially if inboard of 10 inches from the tip, was caused by something coming out of the cowling. A clipped end of safety wire, a washer, a nut, even a bolt and once an exhaust stud, nut and washer! My experience has shown that gravel/sand particles thrown up by the nose tire does cause tiny chips in paint and wood predominantly near the tips of a prop (the outboard 10 inches or so).

The main tires seldom, if ever, cause anything to be thrown into the prop arc. The point I want to get across is this: Any damage to your prop, heavier than sand and light gravel chips and generally inboard of 10" from the tips, is almost certainly caused by something falling out of your cowling and possibly off your engine. Do = ignore this type of damage, even if the prop damage is minor. Ground the airplane remove the cowl and use a good flashlight to carefully and methodically check for missing screws, nuts, bolts, etc.

You will be amazed how often you will find something missing. Over time, you will learn to be more careful about casually clipping a piece of safety wire and having it lodge in a wiring bundle on the firewall. Same goes for a dropped washer, nut or bolt. If it does not fall all the way to the ground - know that it lodged somewhere and will go into the prop disc sometime. With time, you will become an expert at finding lost washers in wing roots or in wiring bundles. Remember, the airplane will always try to warn you before it bites you! An unexplained ding in a prop blade is a warning! Pay attention Fly safely. - ED.

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