While in operation, the propeller is one of the most highly stressed components on an aircraft. Paint helps protect aircraft propellers from corrosion and wear, but over time the propeller is subject to minor paint damage, such as chipping or flaking. Luckily, there are simple steps pilots can take to protect their propeller’s paint and even extend the life of the blades.
Cleaning the propeller
Cleaning the propeller after every flight prevents corrosion and protects the propeller’s paint from damage caused by dead insects or bird droppings. Hartzell Propeller technical representatives suggest using a very mild solution to clean propeller blades, such as dishwashing liquid and water. Stronger solvents, like acetone or MEK, can remove any previous paint touch-ups done using spray paint. When cleaning a propeller blade, be sure that the blade is in a down position so liquid doesn’t run into the propeller hub and damage seals or cause corrosion. Never use a pressure washer on a propeller, as the water may spray into the propeller hub and lead to harmful internal corrosion. Dry the blades using a soft cloth.
If you do identify minor damage to your propeller’s paint, such as minor chipping or flaking, a paint touch-up may be required. Your propeller manufacturer will recommend approved paints you can use to touch-up any minor issues in your paint. For major paint problems requiring disassembly of the propeller, take the propeller to an authorized propeller repair station.
For more substantial paint problems such as surface corrosion, repainting the propeller blades is necessary. Hartzell Propeller uses approved paint schemes, meaning you can send your prop to the Hartzell Service Center or one of our Recommended Service Facilities around the world to be repainted in its original paint scheme.
Regular preventative care and maintenance of the aircraft propeller protects your investment and ensures flight safety. Give your propeller the attention it deserves by performing proper preflight inspections and complying with recommended overhaul times. Do you have a question for the Hartzell Propeller technical team? Contact us.