Last updated on February 17th, 2019 at 08:06 pm
In my prop strike post I gave you quite a few tips on how to avoid a propeller injury. In this post we'll look at two things you can add to your paramotor to prevent injuries, and to increase paramotor prop safety.
I told you that I'd show you have to make a propeller strap to stop the prop spinning uncontrollably, even if the throttle is jammed, so we'll start with that. But, because this strap only works for clutched engines, we'll also look at another great way of preventing prop accidents that works for everyone.
The paramotor prop safety strap
If you have the option, it's always better to strap into your paramotor before starting the engine. This prevents most types of propeller injury, and a jammed throttle will usually be a non event.
But sometimes you have to start your motor on the ground. This could be to work on the engine while it's running, or maybe you struggle to start the engine while you're strapped in, and nobody is there to help you. This is where the propeller strap comes in really handy.
The propeller needs to turn in order for a non clutched engine to start, so the safety strap will only work on clutched engines. We'll look at non clutched engines later.
The prop safety strap idea is very simple: you take a piece of rope, or a strong nylon strap (press buckle straps work great, as shown above), and you attach it to your frame. As you can see I attach mine to the upper cage section, but the V3 cage is very strong. If you have a sturdy cage, go ahead and place the strap around it, if not, use the frame.
The other end of the strap is placed around the propeller, far enough down that it cannot slide off if the prop begins to turn. If you're using any type of buckled strap, be sure to keep the buckle on the frame side so that it doesn't damage your prop.
And that's it! You have a paramotor prop safety strap that may one day save you from a serious propeller injury. If you start the engine and the throttle jams wide open, the strap comes into play and the prop simply cannot turn.
Removing the prop safety strap
When the engine is running, and you're sure that the throttle is not jammed, you can remove the strap ready for flight. If the engine sounds unusual, or like it's trying to rev, do not remove the strap. Only remove it if you're sure the engine is ticking over as normal.
You'll need to be very careful not to accidentally hit the power, so place the hand throttle on the ground, away from the area you need to stand in. Remove the strap from the harness side, not the rear, and don't put your fingers anywhere near the prop, or through the cage.
When the safety strap is removed, get into your harness and avoid touching the throttle until you're clipped in. The engine is then warmed up on your back.
The safe start device
Another great thing we have in our defence against the dreaded finger mincer is the Safe Start. Scout have made this very popular, and they're currently the only manufacturer offering this option as standard on their paramotors.
The Safe Start isn't new to the market, Scout actually tested the prototype over a decade ago, but it's still rare to see pilots using them. I'm not sure what's holding other manufacturers back, but I believe that these need to be fitted to all paramotors.
They can be fitted to any paramotor, and if you contact Scout or one of their dealers, they'll point you in the right direction.
When the Safe Start is left in the on position, it will be in sleep mode, but it will be ready for action as soon as the engine turns over. Just a single pulse from the spark will wake up the device, and it will begin to monitor the engine’s RPM.
As soon as the revs climb above 1000 RPM, the Safe Start device will assume that the engine is running. A 3 second safety period is engaged, and if the revs climb any higher than 2700 RPM, the device will immediately stop the engine.
If the engine idles, and doesn't rev above 2700 RPM during the 3 second safety period, the device will shut down and leave you to enjoy your flight.
I highly recommend that you fit a safe start to your paramotor. They can be fitted very easily, they're light, and the AAA batteries last for a year before they need replacing!
Mind the prop!
So there you have two more ways of keeping your precious body parts safe from the hungry prop. If you haven't already seen the post I linked at the beginning, take a look at it for more prop safety tips.
I'm always looking for more ways to make this sport safer, so if you have any more paramotor prop safety ideas that you think could help people, share them in the comments, and I'll add them to this post.
Check out some more safety tips HERE.
Take a look at some equipment HERE.