Avoid run up in areas containing loose stones and debris.  Propellers can sustain significant damage when operating over loose stones and debris.  If the airplane is parked on a gravel surface, move it to a hard surface before starting the engine.  When taxiing to a tie down spot on gravel, shut the engine down on hard ground and use a tow bar to move the airplane into the tie down spot. 

Back to Prop Tips

Prior to flight, take a few precautions to ensure that your propeller will perform as needed.  Inspect your propeller for visible nicks or damage.  Particularly with a constant speed propeller, grab your blades and insure there is no play in any direction. Listen and feel for unusual noises and vibration.  Look for loose bolts or a tip that might have separated during the start and taxi sequences.  All props vibrate to some extent during operation.  However, propeller roughness may be caused by 1) bent blades 2) blades out of track due to improper mounting of the propeller on the engine shaft, 3) imbalance, 4) a propeller loosely mounted on engine shaft, 5) angles between blades are out of tolerance 6) spinner imbalance due to improper mounting or dirt, snow or ice inside the shell. 

A takeoff with cold oil will result in a poorly governed prop and a possible over speed event.  For constant-speed propellers during run-up keep an eye on the oil pressure and temperature.  Pressure should be in the normal, green arc range, and the temperature should be rising according to outside conditions.  Because the constant-speed propeller needs both good oil pressure to do its job and oil thin enough to be pumped through the smaller passages of the prop, it is important to keep these parameters in mind, particularly for cold weather departures.  A takeoff with cold oil will result in a poorly governed prop and a possible over speed event.  In subfreezing conditions, it could take 15 to 30 minutes to get minimum oil temperature.  Storing the airplane overnight in a heated hangar or calling for preheat will help greatly.