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Hartzell service technician inspects a composite aircraft propeller

Do Pilots Really Need to Comply with Recommended Propeller Overhaul TImes?

Date: June 19, 2018 Category: Blog Tags: , , , , ,
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Propeller overhauls are an essential way to maintain the safety and performance of your aircraft. While Hartzell propellers are engineered to have a long service life, they still require periodic maintenance and inspection just like any other mechanical component of your aircraft.

As we know, the propeller is one of the most highly stressed components on an aircraft. If left unchecked, even small problems may become expensive and even dangerous. Yet at Hartzell Propeller, one of the most commonly-asked questions we hear from pilots is “Do I really have to overhaul my prop at the recommended time?”

The fact of the matter is that pilots operating under the FAA’s Part 91 regulations may not be legally required by the FAA to comply with a manufacturer’s service document. However, while you legally can operate your aircraft beyond the manufacturer’s recommended limits, you may be putting yourself at a safety risk by neglecting the propeller for too long. While you propeller may appear to be operable past its overhaul limits in a visual inspection, it’s not always easy to detect problems like corrosion or seal aging that can occur within the propeller’s components. Some levels of damage are often only identified during a full propeller disassembly and overhaul at a certified propeller repair facility.

We encourage pilots to follow Hartzell’s published overhaul limits, which can be found in the Service Letter, to help ensure that any issues that may be developing within the propeller are detected and addressed early on, ideally while they can still be easily repaired. While operating it beyond these limits may not be technically illegal, neglecting the propeller can lead to much larger, more expensive issues such as reduced reliability, propeller malfunction, component replacement, and potentially unsafe operating conditions.

At Hartzell, we’ve been designing, testing, and manufacturing aircraft propellers for more than a century and our overhaul times are based on the careful recommendations of our team of expert engineers to ensure the safety of pilots flying Hartzell props. During an overhaul, your propeller will first be completely disassembled and visually inspected. The components of your propeller will be cleaned and serviced according to the overhaul manual for the propeller, then each component is inspected for any damage and measured. Then, the service facility will refurbish the blade to its proper specifications. Finally, the propeller is reassembled and properly balanced to prevent vibration and ensure it’s operating at its absolute best.  

Is your prop due for its next overhaul? Our Hartzell Service Center located within our manufacturing facility in Piqua, Ohio provides high-quality repairs and overhauls in short lead times. Or, choose any one of our highly regarded Recommended Service Facilities located around the world.  

For more information about recommended overhaul times for your aircraft propeller, refer to your Service Letter.

Hartzell Propeller