Video: Vintage FAA Films — Hand Prop Debacle

WARNING: You might not be able to watch this.

Before you click on this video of an event that was captured back in the 1960s of a hand-propped airplane going out of control on the ramp, realize that nobody got killed and no limbs were lopped off. But it is still terrifying to watch.

When it picks up after the FAA’s opening speech about the dangers of hand-propping, we see a man gripping the wing strut of a Cessna, propeller turning, one wheel brake locked, a paralyzed passenger inside, as the airplane spins wildly on the crowded ramp. A few onlookers, including a couple who seem not to understand the physics at work as they wander near the whirling taildragger, are baffled by the situation, and one gets batted across the ramp by the spinning tail — you don’t actually see the contact, but he is there in one frame and gone the next. To top it off there’s a Volkswagen microbus orbiting the scene, the driver apparently perplexed as to how to help.

The conclusion is a predictable one, except that no one got killed. Again, watch at your own risk.