A propeller conversion is one of the smartest investments you can make for your aircraft. An upgraded propeller can offer a number of advantages, helping to enhance the performance, safety, appearance, and value of your airplane. But before you select a new prop, there are a few things you should take into consideration.
Before starting to look for a new propeller, take some time to define your goals. What problems are you looking to solve? For example, do you want to lower noise levels? Do you want to boost performance, such as reducing takeoff distance, increasing climb rate, or increasing cruise speed? Are you looking for a prop with greater ground clearance or one with better aesthetics? Knowing your objectives will help you narrow your search among the different options available.
In general, there are three different types of blade materials used in modern propellers: wood, metal (usually aluminum alloys) and composite. At Hartzell, our propeller blades are made from high strength aluminum alloy forgings or advanced composite materials (Kevlar® or carbon fiber). Although they may have a higher upfront cost than their aluminum counterparts, composite propellers offer unique advantages in terms of reduced weight and vibration, performance, and blade life. Unlike aluminum blades, which must be filed down to repair nicks and dings, composite propellers can often be repaired and returned to service without adversely affecting the airfoil shape. This repair allowance gives composite propellers a very long blade life, helping owners save money in the long run.
Choosing a propeller for an experimental or homebuilt aircraft is an important decision. Above all else, you want to be sure the propeller you select is the right match for the engine you have installed. Some other determining factors to consider include weight, noise, diameter limits, and durability. At Hartzell Propeller, we have developed propellers specifically for some of the most popular kit aircraft to take the guesswork out of choosing an engine/propeller combination.
Because a propeller conversion is a significant investment, it’s wise to do plenty of research to be sure you’re getting the most value from the prop you choose. Propellers with a long service life can provide a real cost benefit in the long term. At Hartzell, our Top Prop propellers are offered with the longest warranty for propellers available anywhere in the general aviation industry, all the way through the first overhaul. This extended warranty program helps to reduce the costs of flying and encourages safety through recommended periodic maintenance.