A good friend in South Florida, a HIGHLY experienced modeler (both conscientious and supremely professional in all regards) encountered a prop. It was ugly, took a loooong time to heal, and has resulted in permanent injury. Here he is during much happier times with his gorgeous model.
So the whys and wherefores of accidents like these don't matter because 100% of these unfortunate happenings are unique events. Nor does it matter in the slightest what your mindset is because by definition they are accidents. Moreover, they happen quickly, and not just to newer modelers but to experienced ones, also. In short, there's no rhyme nor reason! However, while nothing is 100%, you can reduce your risk.
Mitigation is as simple as 1, 2, 3
- Don't fly alone
- Get someone to hold the model whilst starting/running up
- Stay behind the prop
Sounds simple, doesn't it? However, practice is tricky. For example, flying alone means there's nobody to help. Quite simply, the repercussions are you may bleed out before help arrives. So waiting for a pal to lend a hand may be frustrating, I get it, but death is forever. Anyway, my long time pal was fortunate in that there were other modelers there to render aid but bottom line? Don't fly alone.
And yes, self-reliance is a big deal, we totally get it. But being averse to asking for help carries more risk than you may imagine. And a glove won't really help. What's more, devices to hold the model while you start the engine can, and do, fail - happens.
Fortunately, if you immediately get behind the aircraft after starting the engine, and with someone experienced securing the model, then by definition the model can't accelerate into you (where the natural reaction is to deflect using hands).
The pictures that follow tell the story and we're sharing them
despite how gross they are because accidents happen and it's easy to get hurt . . . as happened to him. Note; please, before scrolling further you should know these images are really graphic.
Consider yourself warned!
So that's it - the shortest askJOHN ever - and if, like me, you think you are indestructible, too savvy, and much too wily for it to ever happen to you, my super experienced pal thought so also. He's been permanently maimed and it could have been me, or you, so heads up!