Performing regular inspections of your composite propeller is one of the most significant ways to protect your investment. It’s important to not only detect problems before takeoff, but to also determine if any seemingly minor nicks or gauges are preventing your aircraft from performing at its best.
The pre-flight inspection of the new Hartzell Raptor Series propellers is slightly different from other Hartzell models. To verify if you have a Raptor Series propeller, look for with the model number 3C-919A1 and the blades numbers 76C03-2. Here are a few tips to follow when conducting a pre-flight inspection of your Raptor series propeller.
First, visually inspect the propeller blades, checking for nicks, gauges, and loose material. Nicks and scratches in the blade’s paint are not an issue, but gauges that reach the composite material could pose potential problems. Check for loose material that appears on the trailing edge of the blade and examine the face and camber side of the blade to look for cracks, debonds, or delaminations. One way to find debonded areas is with the “coin test.” Using a coin, tap the surface of the blade, listening for dull sounds, which signal a dead area in the bonding.
Next, check the spinner and spinner assembly to look for cracks and loose or missing hardware. Make certain all hardware is tight and in place and inspect around the hardware for any cracks. Common areas to find cracks are around the opening of the blades. Be sure to also inspect the interior of the spinner for grease or oil leakage. Some oil or grease is normal, but it shouldn’t be trailing down the blades or splattering onto the windshield in flight.
If your propeller has de-icing boots installed, make certain it is firmly bonded to the blades. Do not fly the aircraft if the erosion tape is not installed, as it can cause excessive erosion of the blade on the inboard portion of the blade.
Blade play inspections on the Raptor series propeller are slightly different from the Hartzell compact or lightweight propellers. Because the design of the preload system in the propeller uses a different setup, pre-flight inspections of these props may feel a bit different if you are used to performing these inspections on a Hartzell lightweight or Hartzell compact propeller. To find the complete instructions for blade play inspections, be sure to watch our video demonstration by Hartzell Technical Representative, Kevin Ryan.
As always, if you have a question for the Hartzell Propeller technical team, contact us today.