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Thread: NTSB Safety Alert: Aluminum Prop Failures

  1. #1
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    NTSB Safety Alert: Aluminum Prop Failures

    See attached NTSB Safety Alert about damage-related failures of aluminum propeller blades.
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    Eric Page
    Building: Kitfox 5 Safari | Rotax 912iS | Dynon HDX
    Member: EAA Lifetime, AOPA, ALPA
    ATP: AMEL | Comm: ASEL, Glider | ATCS: CTO
    Map of Landings

  2. #2
    lnuss's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
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    I'll add one: Many years ago I was flying a rented C-172 and was on my way home to ABQ from KY. We spent the night in OKC and it was IFR the next morning, but good enough to depart into clear skies just a short time west.

    We departed Wiley Post, got in the soup around 700 or so AGL and climbed to 4000 MSL. Shortly after leveling off the airplane started shaking very badly, just as if a great big hand grabbed the aircraft and shook it. Of course it was tough to read the instruments that way.

    I pulled the throttle back (no help) then pulled the mixture (still no help), then I fortunately remembered reading somewhere that if you slow the aircraft to near a stall that the prop would stop windmilling, so I eased the nose up and as the prop slowed, I could see that a few inches of one blade were missing.

    So I told ATC what had happened and they provided vectors towards the nearest airport (this was way prior to GPS, etc), though with the current wind I didn't expect to quite get there. But thankfully, when I broke out of the clouds (estimated around 600-700 feet AGL) there was a beautiful pasture in front of me, so I dumped full flaps and landed. I rolled to a stop near a farmhouse, so was able to borrow their phone and tell ATC I was OK.

    When the FAA inspector looked over the prop he could find no indication of any surface damage that may have caused the fatigue, and I'd certainly not found any such on the preflight. I found out later that the prop had been re-pitched some time back, though -- don't know if that was pertinent. Fortunately, the only other damage was a crack in the alternator mounting bracket.

    I'm also thankful that my first takeoff and landing practice was in a hayfield -- fields were a comfortable operation for me.

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    Last edited by lnuss; 05-19-2024 at 06:06 AM.

    Larry N.

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