Title: Severe Finger injury from pull start cord
Pilot weight (without motor): US Pounds
Incident Detail Information
Type of Incident:
Pilot Error and Mechanical Failure
Site Elevation: (feet above sea level)
Phase of Flight:
Purpose of Flight:
Safety Gear Used:
Damage to Pilot's Equipment:
Pilot/Passenger Injury Severity:
Narrative: Las Candelas, near Séville, Spain. Sunday mid-morning, during one leg of the competition where 2 pilots are head to head on the same circuit, one of my friends, who was competing, tried to foot start his engine but the knot went through his handle. Luckily for him, not so much for me, he was quick to catch the line before it got all tangled in the starter. We ran to go help him out. I asked for a knife as the knot was too tight and could not be undone for me to reattach the handle. No one could find one and we were in a hurry to get him started (in retrospect there was no urgency as I think the tournament director and other pilot would have waited). So I decided to start the motor by pulling on the line without any handle. For sensitive souls stop reading here. I twisted the line around my hand and index finger (although I don’t remember doing it with the index finger) and proceeded to pull hard. The motor “blocked” and kicked back. The cord ripped my hand, and I hurt myself some and was going for a second try at starting the motor when I realized I was bleeding profusely. I saw a big wound and could barely understand when one of the pilots said “the finger is on the ground”. In reality, almost half of the skin was gone, like if you were skinning an animal. All you could see was bone. My friend immediately picked up the skin (which was giving the impression my finger was cut in half) and rushed for the ambulance. It wasn’t very painful and off we went to Seville 1 hour ¼ away. The surgeon, who was very nice by the way, decided to cut the bone as skin graph was not an option and he was afraid for infection. After surgery my right index finger was cut in half. I was not in pain then but the ride back home (17 hours of road time) and no pain killers, started to get tough.
So this is my story and I say never start a motor with no pull handle. And if before the operation I wasn’t in that much pain, it is not the case anymore. Typed with my left index finger.
No photo on file.