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Mike Todd Mountain Voyager

Power Up: How Can a Powerplant Upgrade Improve Aircraft Performance?

Date: February 10, 2022 Category: Blog Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Since the dawn of flight, people have dreamed of ways to push airplanes to fly higher, faster, and farther while carrying more. In response, aviation designers, engineers, and manufacturers are constantly seeking ways to “build a better mousetrap” and improve existing aircraft with a variety of after-market upgrades.

Airplane engine and propeller conversions are among the most sought-after modifications in general aviation. Replacing an older aircraft engine and propeller with a more powerful, reliable, and modern powerplant combination can dramatically transform the performance of a legacy airplane, making the flying experience that much more enjoyable.

Are you thinking about upgrading your airplane’s powerplant? Here’s a look at some of the top reasons to consider a conversion:

More power and performance from the same airplane

CIRRUS SR22(T) airplane with Hartzell Odyssey Propeller
CIRRUS SR22(T) Odyssey Propeller

One of the most appealing reasons to choose a powerplant conversion is to gain more power and performance without having to buy a new aircraft. In some cases, an STC conversion can open the doors to safer, more confident performance for specific applications like backcountry flying or floatplane operations. Rather than transitioning to an entirely different aircraft, investing in a new powerplant conversion allows owners to get even more value from the airplane they already know and love to fly.

Better efficiency

With the rising cost of avgas, aircraft owners everywhere are looking for ways to improve efficiency in flight and reduce the sting at the pump. Upgrading to a more powerful aircraft engine is one way to help save fuel at the same airspeed. Switching to an advanced constant-speed propeller may also help improve efficiency by allowing for lower RPM operations that can result in reduced fuel burn.

Improved maintenance costs

If your aircraft engine and/or propeller is reaching the manufacturer’s published TBO limits, it’s a good opportunity to run the numbers and weigh your options. Overhauls are a major investment, and if you’re looking for more power, performance, and efficiency, it might make more sense to consider upgrading instead. The price difference between an engine or propeller overhaul and conversion may not be as significant when you consider the long-term benefits of enhancing your airplane.

Aviat Husky with Hartzell Trailblazer composite prop.
Aviat Husky with Hartzell Trailblazer composite prop.

New, modern engines and propellers can also offer longer maintenance intervals compared to legacy versions, allowing operators to reduce flight downtime and save on maintenance costs over the long run. At Hartzell Propeller, our Top Prop propellers are backed by our industry-leading warranty through first overhaul up to 6 years or 2,400 hours.

Choosing the Right Mods

There are countless modifications and upgrades you can make to squeeze more performance, efficiency, longevity, and, most importantly — fun — out of your airplane. The key is to strike the right balance between improvements, safety, and of course, price. As you consider upgrading your aircraft, ask yourself:

  • What do I want more (or less) of when flying?
  • What can I afford? What’s the price difference between an overhaul and upgrade?
  • What are my options? Do your homework to ensure you’re getting the best in quality, value, and customer support. Seeking out reviews from other aircraft owners may also help to make the decision easier.

The opportunity to improve and upgrade your airplane is one of the most rewarding aspects of general aviation. Take your time and appreciate every step of customizing your airplane to make it uniquely yours!

Ready to swap your prop? Hartzell Propeller’s Top Prop STC propeller conversion program offers options for leading aircraft brands, allowing owners to upgrade to innovative new propeller designs featuring scimitar propeller blades, blended airfoils, and dependable structural composite materials. View our Top Prop catalog or contact us to get started today!

Hartzell Propeller