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In this podcast, I explain how to properly do a magneto ground check before engine shutdown, to assure you won’t have a hot prop if you move the propeller by hand. This is a followup to a much longer discussion on magneto and hot props in episode 13.
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Plus listener email: We explain static electricity and how static wicks work to dissipate it from an aircraft, a listener asks why flying in IMC seems so different from flying under a hood, two pilots asks about which ADS-B alternative to install in their aircraft, a pilot asks how to stay current flying in four different airplanes, and a listener from Belgium ask why in the U.S. the FAA refers to pilot certificates instead of pilot licenses and flyers are called airmen and not pilots.
In Flight Problems
If an engine becomes rough during flight, it could be because one magneto has developed a timing problem. In that case, switch to the L and R positions to see if the engine runs better in one of those positions. If it does, leave the magneto switches or key in that position for the rest of the flight and report the problem to your mechanic.
Shutdown Mag Check
Some checklists say to switch the mag switches or key very briefly to the Off position, so you can hear if the engine is stopping. If it is, that verifies that both mags are properly grounded. Then before the engine quits, switch back to the Both position and shut down the engine properly by pulling the mixture to idle. If there’s a mag key, it’s important that you do this check by turning all the way to the Off position, and not just turn to the L and R positions, as some CFIs insist. Turning to the L and R positions checks part of the grounding system, but it doesn’t check whether the switch itself works in the Off position! It’s not unusual for an older switch to become corroded and fail to work in one position, so definitely do the shutdown mag check by switching briefly to the Off position. Do the mag checks and engine shutdown procedures properly, and you will greatly enhance your safety when you move a prop.