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Reader Submission:

Dear ATC Memes,
I’m a student pilot with over 2,000 hours in a C172 (Cessna Skyhawk). I’ve gone for my check ride several times and haven’t managed to impress anybody. I’ve still got my fingers crossed though. Anyway, I’ve always wondered, what is “Prop Wash”? I’ve been too scared to ask anybody because it seems like I should know by now. Any help? -Roger from Harrisburg

Dear Roger,
I’m not really sure on where to begin. First I’ll start out by saying 100% of the reason you aren’t check out yet, is your instructor. The instructors in that area are notoriously bad at giving any sort of quality training. Don’t blame yourself. They just sit back and let you fail. Who do you think pays the price for that? Harrisburg Center, that’s who. Those controllers up there are some of the most overworked and underpaid ATC’ers in the world. I’d say you should relocate to Maryland. Annapolis International Airport, although very busy, has some of the best flight instructors anywhere. You’ll be able to realize your dream of flying on your own, and while you’re at it, grab some crab cakes.

Back to your original question; when you hear someone say “caution prop wash”, it simply means “watch out”, another aircraft is having it’s propellers washed. It’s just so you don’t accidentally get aviation soap on your plane. Different paint jobs require different mixtures of washing solution. You may hear “Caution Jet Blast” as well. Same thing, just with jet engines. Many airlines use a small charge of explosives to break up the bits of dirt and grime that build up on the turbines and journal bearings. I hope I answered your question. Good luck with getting rated. Cheers. -AX