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Tale of Woe! (a mystery prop strike) G-NONI

Not sure if this is the place but the mods will move it if not I’m sure.

This is my first venture into GA aircraft ownership although I have owned a string of sailplanes before now, I expected a few bumps but not this big!

I purchased and paid for late last year a SEP GA aircraft. It was only delivered about 6 weeks ago as the weather has been crap and i have been flat out busy relocating to North Wales, getting production sorted at a new business and generally being snowed under. Went to the airfield to take delivery but had to leave for a business meeting before it landed so did not get to do a walk round.

The aircraft was hangared by the ground handlers at the field and has been there ever since. I did pop out for a quick look and to pick up the paperwork about 2 weeks ago.

Went out to the field today to clear the way to go flying, checked in with the flying club that I’m flying with and went through all the paperwork to make sure everything was hunky dory. CofA and ARC not present so CFI and I went out to the hangar to check if they were in the aircraft. Yes, all present and correct but noticed that the aircraft is due for a 6 monthly inspection at the end of this month.

Did a good walkround of the aircraft and everything looks pretty good except …… the prop. BIG DING! Went and spoke to the maintenance organisation that I am hoping to work with and they said their chief mech had noticed the prop ding and in their opinion the engine needs shock load testing ( following a lycoming directive ) and the prop needs repair and possibly replacement.

Now just to be clear ……. I have not started the aircraft ……. ever, let alone flown it. It has been parked in the same spot in the hangar since delivery. Airport records will reflect that it has not moved on the ground or flown I believe.

The organisation that sold it to me is a very reputable one and I am not calling them in to question but I have a U/S aircraft and I’m a little upset!

I have sent photos off to the broker and they have offered to ‘help out’ but as it is more than 20 days since delivery their policy will not cover it.

I have spoken to the previous maintenance organisation and they are certain there was no prop damage when they did the annual at time of sale.

The aircraft has only the delivery trip on it since it was in the maintenance hangar.

Do I get my insurers involved now or wait a while to see how this goes?

Here I leave a virtual space for a very loud anglo saxon word!

Last Edited by Nimbusgb at 19 Apr 15:49
It's not rocket science!

While I’m not going to comment on the wisdom of taking delivery of an aircraft without anyone present to check it (and I do feel sorry for you!), I find it unbelievable that anyone would have flown with a prop in that condition. Do you have any pictures of it parked at the maintenance organization? On arrival? How did the ground handlers get it into the hangar? Has the Hobbs time on arrival been noted and does it correspond with the present reading? You get the drift here….

Pretty much none of the above.

Yup i got called away from the field literally 15 mins before it landed, not much I can do about that now.

Considering that prop has only got about 3 hours on it sinc it’s 100 hour and annual I’m surprised there are SO many nicks and dings in the leading edge, i would have expected at least some dressing of ‘old’ scars. Either that or someone has driven it through a gravel pit on the delivery trip.

Ground handlers have a nose wheel towbar and manually rotated the aircraft 180 and pushed it backwards to its current parking spot.

Hobbs does tie in with the delivery log though.

Ho hum. Should have stuck to gliding!

Last Edited by Nimbusgb at 19 Apr 16:55
It's not rocket science!

Nimbusgb wrote:

Should have stuck to gliding!

Fly with a prop like that and you might well have the opportunity. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist it :-p )

EGKB Biggin Hill

That is one mighty whack. Here’s one I did earlier (last year actually), with the offending bit of FOD. Someone is telling porkies.

Fly safely
Various UK. Operate throughout Europe and Middle East, United Kingdom

Nimbusgb, that looks like a tow-bar strike….any damage…that’s where I’d start my search fir a culprit…

YPJT, United Arab Emirates

Yes several people are pointing towards a towbar strike. Problem is going to be getting the ground handlers to own up to it.

Someone has blown one or two of the photo’s up and says they can see a few bits of red paint. I’m off with a 35mm camera with a macro lens to do a bit of close up photography and to ‘discuss’ things with the operator.

It's not rocket science!

What a sad story, Nimbus, but while this is of no help to you, let me tell you that you are very far from being the first person to buy a plane which turns out to be a lemon.

Is only one blade damaged? If just one, it is as Anthony suggests a strike onto a towbar or some other object. Is there a towbar provided and is it not the original one, perhaps?

Any prop strike on the ground will damage the tip first, and usually all blades get damaged.

Many people who don’t own the plane do walk away from a prop strike, saying nothing. I know of one here at Shoreham where a towbar was hit, taking a ~2cm deep chunk out of the prop, and the renter chucked the towbar into tall grass and was never seen again. And quite a number of people have got airborne with the towbar attached.

I had a £20k prop strike with 1hr on the new plane so this is my favourite topic And I saw a very near case today at the Scilly Isles of a Rotax powered plane which taxied over grass/tarmac/grass so fast it bounced wildly up and down on the flimsy nose gear and nearly hit the ground with the prop.

I have just asked a prop guy about this and he says whether the prop needs to be replaced depends on taking measurements. Each prop manufacturer gives limits on how much can be skimmed off and where.

BTW would the ground handlers be responsible? The engine had to be started.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I wouldn’t call that a big deal. Surely it is fixable. But the prop looks ugly, old and “over painted” either way. I would get a new prop and forget about it.


The first thing I would do is to read the broker’s contract and its terms and conditions very carefully. I presume you signed a contract with them, which may include a clause about when liability passed to you. You may also have had a contract (maybe a verbal one) for them to deliver the aircraft to your chosen location. Whether or not the broker’s insurance policy covers the damage is for him to worry about, not you. I would also get a qualified engineer to exam the prop to determine whether the aircraft had been flown since the damage to the prop (evidence of squashed bugs etc. over the damaged area).Your own insurance broker will probably have a loss adjuster who can do so. Presumably someone (a ground handler?) accepted the aircraft and witnessed its arrival. Get a statement from them asap. Then its a case of deciding whether you are going to make a claim against the broker, the delivery pilot or your own insurance policy. A lawyer with good aviation experience may well be the next step.
I would suggest you don’t even start the engine, yet alone taxi or fly it until you have a release to service, which is probably going to be a very expensive exercise.
I find it very chilling that someone who has damaged an aircraft like that hasn’t reported it.

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