A Prop Strike

“NO MORE EDF’S!!”

“EDF = TYRANNY!”

“HITLER USED EDF’S!”

That’s what I think a propeller would write on a placard as it marched on strike. There has to be at least one sign that compares tyranny to whatever they are striking against, right? In this case I think that props would be striking against the use of Electric Ducted Fans (EDFs).

Oh, wait! That’s not the kind of prop strike that I intended to write about! Okay… let’s give this a try:

Jay

+

Covered Baby

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Jay's New Scar 6-29-13

My poor Sweetie! Last Saturday we went up to the field to do some flying. We were having a good time hanging out with the guys who had shown up; flying the Warthog, the F-16 and the Huey. Jay had yet to maiden the baby Rascal, aka “Alfalfa”, so he threw a battery in it, tested the motor by running it up a bit, and then deciding that all was good to go. It was wet enough, and the grass was long, so he decided that he would hand-launch this plane. I was standing back talking with Sam as I watched Jay hold the plane out in front of him, making sure to stay out of the line of the prop as he ran it up. Up goes the throttle… the prop starts turning at full speed… and just before Jay gets ready to let it go I suddenly see the prop bounce off of his face! He throttles down, drops his transmitter (hanging on the neck strap so that it just dangled) and grabbed his mouth and chin.

Sam and I went up to him and he starts pushing the plane and radio at us, to turn it off. He didn’t dare take his hand away because he wasn’t sure how bad it was. I wanted to see what damage had been done, but he refused to let me see. Jay mentioned that he could taste blood, and I saw it start to trickle between his fingers. I rushed over to the pin box and grabbed the first aid kit, looking for something to use to stop the bleeding. Luckily we have a well-stocked box for just such emergencies, and the first roll of gauze that I came to I ripped open, unrolled, and handed to him. Jay has been trained in first aid because at work he’s a first responder. I have not been formally trained in first aid, but growing up with my older sister and all of her mishaps has given me a lot of informal training.

After finally getting Jay to let me see the cut so that I could assess the damage, I was glad to see that it wasn’t as horrible as it could have been. When those APC props are flying at such high velocities they can do a LOT of damage. It had struck him on the chin and put a pretty deep gash below his lip. He was going to need stitches. At first he was being stubborn, but then he decided that perhaps he should go get it looked at. We packed up all of the planes and headed down to the Urgent Care (which is fairly close to the field). There wasn’t anybody waiting so we were able to get right in. He received five stitches and a tetanus shot, but I was happy that we had gone. I knew that there was no way I would be able to bandage it up enough for it to heal properly.  Once the stitches were in and we were out the door, it was back up to the field to fly the F-16 a few more times and then shoot the breeze with the guys.

Is there a moral to the story? I don’t think so. In every hobby there are going to be fairly risky situations, especially when it comes to working with motors and things that spin really fast. Heck, just vacuuming can be dangerous! I had an old metal Kirby come up and whack me in the forehead… twice! As long as you are taking precautions and you know what the risks are then you’ve done as much as you can do. Jay was holding the plane just as he should have, and we still can’t figure out why the prop came back at him when it should have gone out in front of him (thus the reason why he was holding it as he was). Despite what the other guys say, I did keep my cool and the first aid kit was utilized. Things happen. Jay knows this and he’s going to continue to hand launch his planes. He’s not afraid of the props, either. Like I said, he was just upset that it took time out of his flying to go get the stitches. *sigh*

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