Cowl Plug Footballs

Nerf footballs give their all for flight safety.


Keeping birds and other critters out of your engine cowling is serious business. It’s amazing how quickly our feathered friends can create a tinder pile on top of a cylinder, and unless they leave a trace of grass or twigs at the inlet, you might not catch it. Cowl plugs are the answer.

After I changed to a Sam James cowl (featuring round air intakes), RV builder Brian Carroll suggested using Nerf footballs for cowl plugs.

A bread knife quickly and cleanly cut the larger football in half. (Please don’t tell my wife!) String was used to tie the two football halves and small football together.

By looping the string over the propeller, should the starter be engaged without removing the cowl plugs, the footballs will be pulled out of the cooling inlets.

Bill Repucci was handed his Private Pilot’s certificate back in the days when the written test was taken with a Number 2 pencil. At the time, Bill was told that he now had a “License to Learn.” And learn he did, mostly that there was humor buried in the quirky ways of those of us who call ourselves aviators.


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