Considerate Pilot: Coil the Ropes

Recently I saw a message thread by a flight instructor about “pet peeves.” Each flight instructor has their “very push-able buttons.” Rather than look at the idiosyncrasies that some pilots display which cause grief for others, the considerate pilot series of posts is going to explore traits of thoughtful, courteous pilots. With the first post of the series, let’s take a look at coiling the ropes, a ramp courtesy that is really quite simple.

During the preflight prorations for flight, it is critical to remember to untie the aircraft, especially the tail. It’s always funny to see an airplane attempt to taxi away with the tail still firmly attached to the ground. But I digress…

Photo Jan 31, 8 45 54 PM

The difference is very visible when a side-by-side comparison is done. The right clearly looks like the work of a professional pilot, the left, not so much…

Tiedown points themselves are already a trip hazard on an airport ramp. Regardless of style, recessed loop, steel rope, eye hook, etc… Add in a length of rope between 8 to 12 feet and each aircraft parking spot can be a real bug-a-boo for pedestrians. One way to minimize the trip hazard for yourself, other pilots and passengers is a very simple thing. Rather than untying the ropes and simply tossing them aside, take a couple of extra seconds and coil the ropes up around the tiedown anchor point. This will reduce the trip hazard and make it less likely you or someone else will inadvertently fall victim to losing your footing.

Photo Jan 31, 1 05 14 PM

Ropes laying around can be pulled into a propeller and also present a trip hazard for pedestrians on the apron.

One other benefit is that with the ropes coiled up there are fewer obstructions, which makes it easier to taxi into a tiedown spot if space allows, without the threat of having the propeller grab a rope and create a real mess!

So next time you’re untying an airplane, take a couple of extra seconds and help us all by coiling the ropes up around the tiedown anchor. Even if no one says it, the greater aviation community thanks you, considerate pilot!

-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9

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