What's Up: With A Very Heavy Weaker Heart Here I GO!
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 4:53PM
Larry Shapiro in FAA, Gordon Bowman-Jones, Larry Shapiro, flight safety, flight safety briefing, general aviation, hand propping

By Larry Shapiro

Hey Lar, have an accident?  “No thanks, I just had one.”

I know, I know bad joke… But there are many lessons to be learned and shared here, and I have a chance to use some of my old faithful bad jokes to tell my story.

Since I’m running out of money, send me a dollar and a note reminding me how many times you’ve heard me say, “Pilots have no common sense, and I think it doesn’t exist in General Aviation.” Then I could buy that house in the country I always wanted.

Because I am in the middle of what some of you might call a legal situation, I’d call it an inconvenience or a contribution to my lawyer’s retirement fund. I’ve been told anything I write could be used against me… hummm, the truth could be used against me… what an interesting concept. 

If I write anything in this column that has any legal value, then I want a raise.

Time and time again, I beg all of you to take a moment for a safety briefing… hell, even I do it. How hard is it to tell your passengers how to get out of a spam can, (airplane) and how many of you do it correctly?

Maybe explain some of the reasons one might have to do it.  I’d list some of them here, but then I’d lose you while you finish laughing.

The fact of the matter is that I could fill this page with dozens of suggestions on how to stay safe when aviating.

Now I know many of you have heard all the stories about my incident I was a victim of.  I’ll share more with you when its appropriate, but I will accept invitations to speak to your groups, club, cellmates, and ex wives.

I do ask for expenses to be covered, and I prefer not to travel commercial right now while I’m learning to use my new gizmos, including my new leg, walker, and wheelchair, but I’m learning and getting better every birthday. (If I have any left) 

I’ve lost many, many, pounds… down to less than 200 of them and while I’ve slowed down a bit, learned how to ask for help and many, many rides, I’m breathing on my own most of the time. Asking for help is the hardest part for me… 

For those of you who will ask… yes, I’ve flown, and now I know what I can do and not do and flying is one of them.  My new “motto,” Slow Lar, go slow, and be patient.

NO! I didn’t fly solo… I had a legal young, single and good-looking pilot in the other seat. When we landed I put my T-210 on the market for sale because now I have limits to my skills…

So what are the lessons learned? Many! You can’t do this alone…having friends makes life almost livable. I am blessed and very lucky but also very dependent. To all of you who have been holding my hands… thank you.

Here’s another lesson…life will never be the same…could be better, (I kinda doubt that) but I’m willing to try it.  I need a list of reasons to live…mine is getting short.

My bottles of pills/medicines are to be envied. I may have to put up a sign with store hours. I think Rite Aid may complain if I don’t.

Boredom! This is my new backup career…and I’m failing. You must find a new direction and purpose to get up in the morning.  It will take time, but you will have a life, different, but it’s a life.

I see myself helping others and doing some creative and hopefully funny motivational speaking that has purpose and value.

Even the Airshow Industry has asked me back and seems to miss my humor. Plus they see my new leg as being a plus. (What?!)

I’m still learning how to travel…especially commercially…I need too many toys to support me, but I’m going to get better…I hope.

Right now, I need my Leg, special shoes, my cane, my walker, and if possible, my wheelchair. I also need a bottle of water, directions to the loo, and to keep people from wanting to help by putting their hands on me…I hate that…I just want a shoulder close by in case I need one.

I’m sure by now there are many, many questions…and I want to answer them…may I ask that you ask them personally and let me decide how I want to answer them?

This is a very serious and painful attempt at helping all of you.

Hand Propping: Tell Your CFI Not To Read This

(I’m sort of quoting)

No specific FAA regulation applies to hand propping an airplane, either to prohibit it or to direct how it is to be done. Failure to follow generally accepted procedures and precautions listed in the Airplane Flying Handbook, however, could land you in trouble with the FAA. Read more at (http://pilot-protection-services.aopa.org/News/2015/April/Hand-propping?PPS=eBrief.07APRIL15.Yodice)

There is no specific FAA regulation that applies to hand propping an airplane, either to prohibit it or to direct how it is to be done. It’s an action that can be accomplished safely. For many of us who operate airplanes without starters, it is commonplace and, of course, necessary in order to go flying. I started flying without a starter.

The FAA contends that hand propping is a two-person operation and has expressed this view in the Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A) under the section titled “Hand propping.” Of course, this publication is not regulatory, but the NTSB was surely influenced by it in a 1983 legal decision. In that case, the FAA sought to suspend a pilot’s certificate for being careless or reckless when, while attempting to start a VariEze experimental aircraft, it “got away” and ran into a parked aircraft. At the initial hearing, the NTSB administrative law judge ruled in favor of the FAA and ordered a 40-day suspension. The pilot appealed the judge’s decision to the full board. 

The pilot testified that he was having trouble starting the engine because it was flooded. He sought the assistance of a nonpilot companion who was instructed to reach inside the cockpit and pull the throttle back when the engine started (yes, the throttle was in the full open position). Well, the engine started, the companion failed to close the throttle and the airplane indeed “got away.” The board affirmed the administrative law judge’s finding that there had been a 91.10 (now 91.13) violation.

The board maintained that, “The standard procedures set forth in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Flight Training Handbook provide that an engine should never be hand-propped unless a qualified individual is seated at the controls and the brake is set. In addition, the Handbook urges that chocks be placed in front of the main wheels and that if this is not possible, the airplane’s tail should be securely tied down.”   

There have been at least two previously issued NTSB (full board) decisions and one subsequent decision that refers to these generally accepted procedures and precautions for hand propping. The precedent has been set. So, hand proper’s beware; if you fail to follow proper precautions and the airplane gets away, the FAA might pursue action against you for being careless or reckless.

Final words…all mine and serious…naaaaah, never mind, maybe next time.

On Final

Gordon Bowman-JonesI’d like to try to end this month’s column on a cheery and happy note…its going to be an uphill battle with the emotions I’m now living with, but as I’m giving space from the loss of a major piece of the fabric of my life and in our world of aviation, I can’t forget that it’s Father’s Day soon. We lost a famous father recently. (Gordon Bowman-Jones)

His kids are now adults and have kids of their own, but he was special to me as the man that brought me into the airshow world. His memorial will take place at the Hiller Museum located at SQL in a few weeks. I would expect the “Who’s Who” in our industry to be there.  Hope you will be there too.

There are so many other stories banging on our heads from all over the world.  We’re still looking for a 777 that has been missing for so long I almost forgot about it, but now I am thinking about the family and friends of the passengers aboard that airplane. I choose to go with the story that “Aliens” took it…somehow that’s easier to pallet.

Special good luck wishes and hope for my best friend…she has been a champion and inspiration to me and many other…hang in there Kimi…you’re a winner!

Until next time…

That’s Thirty!


About the writer: Larry Shapiro is an aircraft broker, aviation humorist

and fulltime grandfather of three.

He’d love to have you share your thoughts and ideas for future articles.

Article originally appeared on In Flight USA (http://www.inflightusa.com/).
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