Back in 2015, Hartzell Propeller introduced a new five-blade, 105-inch diameter composite swept tip propeller specially designed to maximize performance for the Pilatus PC-12 NG turboprop fleet. We recently had the chance to catch up with PC-12 owners and pilots at the 22nd annual convention of the Pilatus Owners and Pilots Association (POPA) in New Orleans and hear from pilots flying the next-gen propeller.
When the five-blade propeller was first introduced, Brian Cleary, then president of the POPA, said: “The Hartzell five-blade has a lot more thrust in the takeoff roll and climb out. I like the technology behind it so I decided to get the Hartzell prop.”
After flying his aircraft with an engine upgrade for 50 hours, just 20 with the new prop from Hartzell, he said at the time, “The combination is really a transformation in many regards for the airplane. It is terrific and I love it.”
Now, nearly three years later, Cleary says he feels the same way about the propeller. “Still loving it. All of my initial impressions of performance improvements have held true over time,” Cleary said.
The new prop delivers better performance and reliability, allowing the PC-12 NG to cruise five knots faster, climb to a cruise altitude of 28,000 feet 10 percent quicker, and offer a 50-foot reduction in total takeoff distance.
The new quieter, more efficient propeller is the direct result of Hartzell’s investments in structural composites, advanced aerodynamics, and the latest manufacturing processes. Our structural composite utilizes aerospace-grade carbon fiber that’s five to 10 times stronger than beech wood and spruce wood core propellers, and seven pounds lighter than the standard four-blade aluminum propeller.
Because the prop uses stronger materials, we can design thinner, wider airfoils that optimize performance. And with a swept airfoil design that reduces flyover and cabin noise, the new composite prop offers improved cabin comfort for pilot and passengers.
PC-12 owner Robert MacLean, who also served as POPA president is also thrilled with the five-blade composite propeller. “The new five-bladed prop looks great and works as expected – improved climb rate, improved descent rate (one more blade – more resistance when throttled back) and a few knot improvement in cruise. All and all, it lives up to expectations.”
The five-blade Pilatus prop comes with Hartzell’s industry-leading Top Prop warranty through its first overhaul (six years or 4,000 hours). The structural composite blades are certified for unlimited life, meaning they can be easily repaired and returned to their factory dimensions over and over again, unlike metal or wooden blades.
“Clearly, our propellers have been selected by Pilatus as standard equipment on new production aircraft because of their exceptional reliability and superior performance,” said Hartzell Propeller President Joe Brown. “We are doubly pleased to be able to offer the newest technology as well for legacy operators,” he added.
“The Pilatus PC-12 with Hartzell’s aerodynamic five-blade prop gives owners and operators excellent performance and reliability and offers them a highly desirable way to increase the value of their airplanes while wringing even more performance out of their flying assets.”