Make Propellers Visible

Feb 26, 2012   //   by admin   //   Tech Info  //  No Comments

Make Your Propellers Visible !

We all know the safety rules and common sense about the safe handling of powered model aircraft, and of spinning propellers in particular.  Full size aircraft propellers can easily kill or maim the unwary.

But why consider full size aircraft ?… Because most full size aircraft have the tips of their propellers painted “Bright Yellow”, because this is the best colour to provide a good contrast against all other background colours. Many makes of model propellers are almost “invisible” when running, especially Grey, APC and Graupner propellers which seem to be the least visible, with the Black grp, “Master” and “JXF” propellers coming a close second. 

On many full size aircraft propellers, the rear face is often painted Black. This is so the pilot can easily “see” through the propeller arc without reflections. The tips are then painted “Bright Yellow”. The yellow arc of the spinning tips is then easily seen when the motor is running . 

It was proposed by Roger Perryman (E&DRCC Vice-Chairman), that all members paint the ends of their propellers “Bright Yellow”.  Some members are wisely, doing this already. There are many makes of  enamel paints for modelling, available in small tins, that are proof against petrol and glow fuels. It only takes a few minutes to paint the last half inch (12mm), or more, at the tip of each propeller.  In fact, an extra coat of paint can be easily added to any blade that is “light” to assist with balancing. The tips of  propellers can be gently abraded with medium 360 grade “wet and dry” emery paper to provide a “key” then cleaned off with cellulose thinners prior to painting the tips on both sides of each blade. 

In the 1980’s, on my Rowena 56cc glow motors, I always painted the tips of the 24” x 12” wooden propellers in this way. A propeller that size turning at up to 7,000 rpm could do anyone a lot of damage………….It’s high time I started painting the tips of my propellers “Bright Yellow “……again !!

Humbrol Enamels, “Chrome Yellow” or Flair Paints, “Cub Yellow” are both fuel proof , very visible, and will dry overnight.  

It recently took me 15 minutes to paint the tips of five propellers, whilst fitted to engines and installed in my models. Humbrol Enamels only take a few  hours to dry: Nigel Rollason   


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