Nesting season is upon us, and it's time to protect your plane!
Cowl plugs (engine inlet plugs) block our feathered friends' entrance to engine compartments where they can create a significant fire hazard in an astonishingly short period of time! Plugs keep birds and other FOD out.
Plugs should be tethered together with heavy duty webbing.
The intent of this webbing is to allow installation of the plugs with the strap astride one of the prop blades. If the plugs aren't removed during walk around (of course you would never forget your plugs), when the propeller moves on engine start, the entangled strap yanks the plugs from the inlets.
Our friends at Hartzell remind us that plugs spinning around the prop and/or being flung across the tarmac can present their own safety issues! Kill the engine immediately, check for any damage, and probably order a new set of plugs.
Threading the strap through the prop is the third best way of ensuring your plugs are removed before flight. Second is to order plugs with the upright flag option. These flags can easily be seen from the cockpit to avoid the flinging plug phenomenon.
Of course, the absolute best option is to do a thorough and complete pre-flight inspection to ensure there are no issues - including plugs - that could compromise the safety or performance of your aircraft.
~Safe flying from the Kennon Team!