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Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by HumbleGuest, Sep 21, 2019.
'Towbar is only attached to the plane while it is attached to my hand'.
Bummer. Seems you took it better than I would have.
Time for a 3 blade prop. That way you just end up taking off with it.
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As I've shared here before:
Many years ago I had a similar experience, when I taxied the wing of a friend's airplane into a light pole while trying to park it at a tiedown, because I was fixated on avoiding the tiedown chains so as not to cause a prop strike and didn't realize how close the poles were to the ramp. Luckily I was inching forward very slowly so none of the damage to the wing was structural, but the reskin job cost over $2000. The owner didn't involve the insurance company, to avoid an increase in premiums, so I paid for every penny myself. A hard lesson in situational awareness, but a good one.
OP, your situation is somewhat tougher because the cost of complying with the regs is going to be quite a bit higher, but if you do the right thing and don't try to avoid responsibility (which it doesn't seem you are trying to do at all), then you still have a long flying career ahead of you. Other than the financial setback, I don't see any reason why you need to abandon your ambitions to become a professional pilot. I didn't have any such ambitions, but I'm still flying, and yes, the owner of the airplane I banged up and I are still good friends.
I've done two of these this year. The first was in January and was a Cherokee 140 with O-320. The damage to the prop was minimal and was dressed out but since it was still a prop strike, had to comply with AD 2004-10-14. You are required to inspect the crankshaft gear. This did not require removing the engine. Labor and materials under $2K (well under). The second, I just completed. Fellow hit a parked car at idle. American Yankee with O-235. Prop was damaged and was replaced with a serviceable unit, cost under $1000. Engine crank gear inspection IAW the AD required engine removal due to lack of space. Labor and materials under $2k; total with used prop under $3k.
Thank you for the reasoned addition. Much too much fear mongering on the R/R side of these things in this thread. It's almost a predisposition to hyperbolize in order to justify their own inclination for high dollar bottom overhauls. My Arrow had a cracked case at 1000SMOH. The case was repaired, internals updated, and no bottom overhaul listed. Worked out for the sellers too because I wasn't gonna pay a premium for an overhauled engine on the cosmetics of the tin can they were bolting the engine to. Win-win for both parties. Cheaper as you note (more expensive due to the weld job and the physical removal, but still significantly less than an overhaul), and so far so good, knock on wood.
Cessna forehead...call NTSB. Got it.
I've cut my leg scooting my seat up, too
How the hell do you taxi an airplane into a car....
Good to hear that the repair and required inspections can be under $2K. I hope the OP's case is as inexpensively addressed.
I don't think the OP will have the same $2k experience.
Not sayin'. Just sayin'.
One of the advantages of a wooden prop is that in a tip strike like the OP's towbar incident the material acts like a fuse and the tip turns into splinters, but the engine rarely requires a teardown. A new wooden prop is a lot cheaper than an engine teardown and possibly a new crankshaft.
Metal props aren't as forgiving.
Why a wooden prop?
I like Tim's idea of putting the towbar pin on your key ring.
The American Yankee has a castering nosewheel and only differential braking to steer. The pilot was taxing down the hanger row and had no right brake when he went to apply brakes. The aircraft swerved hard and he pulled the mixture. Was unable to prevent hitting a parked car once it started to swerve. Obviously other things could have been done earlier but at that point not much but finish the ride.
No, not when it's not your airplane...
This. Like never take off without having had looking into or dipping the gas tanks. Period. No exceptions. Pre takeoff checklists. Etc. Period. No exceptions. Believe in it and commit to it so it becomes as natural as breathing.
I’ve seen a fuel truck taxi into one of my club planes. Kinda the same?
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As an owner, you can decide not to comply with the service bulletin and to skip the teardown. Then the only thing that is mandatory (via AD) is the inspection of the accessory drive sprocket and repair/replacement of the prop.
The OP was in a rental plane. Unless the owner/FBO feels really charitable, it's going to require a teardown.
My partner had a prop strike in the C206. I was surprised how much of the expense was covered by insurance, and when all was said and done we ended up with a zero time engine for about 25% of the cost if overhauled from normal use. It's a pretty good deal with a high time engine. For a new engine, not so much.
Not exactly while taxiing, but came VERY close to having my Sky Arrow roll into my Honda Element after engine start.
I’m a religious checklist user, but on that occasion it seemed silly to do so - I was just firing up the engine using jumper cables to my car. But by not using a checklist, I had neglected to set the parking brake - which is especially important in a plane with finger brakes. Got to the brakes just in tptime. Of course, with a pusher my prop and engine were safe, but I still barely avoided composite damage to the plane and sheet metal damage to the car.
You got a lot of good advice here. Just passing on my sympathy. Hang in there, and nobody got hurt!
I fell victim to this once. Taxiing the AA-1A I heard a funny scraping noise. It stopped for just a second right before the nose gear hit a bump.
I pulled the mixture, and didn't touch the brakes until the prop had stopped. I got out, placed the towbar in the aft glove-box (baggage compartment), restarted, and proceeded normally.
I was LUCKY - no prop strike.
I don't think the OP will EVER forget to stow/remove the towbar after his incident.
I was taxiing the red Yankee to 9L at KTMB and felt/heard a something. Almost a bump. Told tower I need to pull over and check things out. Everything looked good so launched. Turned out the vacuum pump had failed.
At least insist on the old prop. Hang it over the fireplace
Yeah, I had a near miss in this department. Was breaking in a new instructor while working on my PPL, on a plane I had just bought in to a partnership on. Pulled the plane out of the hangar after preflight, didn't remove the tow bar. After the instructor arrived, we did a quick ground lesson, then hopped in the plane. Somebody else on the field flagged us down during our taxi. Ground a nice flat spot on the tow bar, but it luckily never popped up in to the blade.
Not that it mattered much. About a month later, we had to OH the engine because of corrosion on the camshaft anyway.
I’m in claims. Fixed pitch will run you about 8k depending from where. IRAN(inspect and repair as necessary) inspection on the engine will run around $10-12K. Labor for the r&r will be about 3-4K. Insurance should pick it up 100%. I seen 10 of these claims a week, so don’t feel too bad. Hell I see 20k hour skygod airline pilots tip their personal RVs taildragger up on the nose or forget to lower gear.
Report it to your insurer, and do it the right way. You can try just replacing the prop, but your IA may not want to sign off the annual until the inspection has been done per the SB, to cover his @ss, which is understandable. In reality, there is no rhyme or reason to what causes internal damage. I’ve had full power high speed gear collapse propstrikes that did nothing to the engine, and props that nicked rocks which caused crankshaft flange cracks. You may want to put the 10k towards an overhaul. If you are close to TBO there may be a lot of wear and tear once they open it up and insurance doesn’t cover that.
Don’t bother reporting it to NTSB. Trust me when I say they couldn’t care less. Unless there is a smoking crater with serious injuries or bodies, they rather not deal with it since they have many many smoking craters with bodies they are already dealing with. Their Give-a-f&*k chart goes-
2. Any fatal jet/turbine helo crash
3. Jet crash with injuries
4. Jet incident(overruns, excursions) with no injuries
5. Piston crash with multiple fatal
6. Piston crash with injuries
7. Piston crash no injuries
8. Piston incident of any sort on the ground
Even on some piston crashes with injuries they will send an FAA guy out instead of traveling themselves.
Is it reasonable to assume the OP's insurance premium will go up and if so, significantly?
First time flight after 43 years . CFI had me pick the tow bar off the floor . Instructions were "Hand dosen't leave tow bar till its back on hanger floor" Hook it to front wheel pull C150 out of hanger , remove tow bar, place back on centerline in hanger. Hand never leaves tow bar for no reason till its back on floor. Same way pushing back in hanger . Hand on tow bar till its removed and placed on floor . Quite adamant about that . Plus tales of those who didn't remember to keep hand on tow bar.
Tow bar is always in a location I can visually check before engine start.
This brings up the question of a check list. Do you use a check list and verify every step, or do you just read it without verification.? A mental check list like GUMPS, can help if you use them every time you fly.
G= Gas, switch to tank with most fuel
U=Under carriage, fixed gear, so yes brakes, tires, tow bar are happy
P=Fixed pitch prop, still attached.. Or Position, DG set, position on field set/altimeter
S=Switches, radio, transponder, fuel pump, lights, ... are happy
Virtually all insurance policies cover tear-down. Only question here is one of subrogation against your personal insurance/assets.
First thing I learned as an owner is that the towbar stays in the hangar. It doesn't go in the plane, ever. (Airports have towbars.) When the plane is pushed back, the towbar stays attached on the floor. When the plane comes out, the towbar is immediately removed at placed in the hangar in its designated spot. Nothing is allowed to interrupt the towbar sequence. It doesn't come out of my hand until in the hangar. In addition, I start my preflight at the right wing drains. This requires me to circle the plane twice to complete the preflight tasks and enter the plane on the pilots side. If for some crazy reason the towbar was still attached, I would have to trip over it twice to leave it attached. It's worked for me. The preflight procedure should be similar to the "sterile cockpit" for approach and landing. Anything that interrupts you can lead to a critical step getting missed.
It does happen however. More than once, we have called out to a local pilot on CTAF to stop and remove their towbar while taxiing for takeoff. Fortunately, the towbars didn't jump up during (a rather long) taxi.
So sorry it happened to you. Nothing to do but move on, and learn from the experience. Importantly, nobody was hurt.
Screw that.... might as well do a field overhaul.
During my instrument training, I was in the runup area when I see a Cherokee taxi towards the runup. As he got closer, and made the turn to get next to me, it became obvious his tow-bar was still attached.
The FBO must have just (over)filled the nose strut, as the Piper type don't sag and stick straight out. He had very little clearance. The instructor in that aircraft must have been instructing heavily, as he didn't hear me asking ground to relay that their bar was attached, and it took ground two tries to get their attention.
That would have been an interesting landing if they had managed to take off with it.
I've got the old style Piper towbar for my Cherokee.. two little curved fingers, and no spring clamp. If you don't hold the towbar up at an angle, it slips out when you DON'T want it to. Hate it. On the other hand... there's no way it would stay attached if it ever WAS left out. Never have, and always check it before AND after preflighting. Guess this is about the only reason in favor of this lame style towbar.
How do you not hear the prop striking the towbar during the startup?
On the other hand, I love mine. I know that I will NEVER have to worry about leaving the tow bar attached, because if I let it go, it falls off onto the ground. I've never had much difficulty using it.
This might work if you only ever fly to normal airports, and stay in the USA. Good luck finding a tow bar at a nice remote grass strip, or pretty much any foreign airport!
Engine needs a teardown, not just an inspection.
Because in most cases it will not strike the towbar on startup.
A wise old hand told me to do this, he calls it a "suicide prevention check".
Such a great post. Remember, there's no such thing as an emergency takeoff.
And if I read the OP correctly, his insurance only covers $1k of the owner's deductible, BUT the renter is responsible for all damages, i.e. this isn't going on the owner's insurance.
Really bummed for the OP, anyone can make a mistake. I do thank him for sharing the lesson learned.
Not even all "normal" airports have tow bars. He must only fly into D C or B airports with 24/7 FBOs. I havent seen a public use towbar at a majority (any??) of the self serve/park airports Ive flown into. Certainly not at the fuel pumps or tie downs. But Ive only flown to 48 states, so I dont have that much experience with different airports.