Thousands of aircraft owners and pilots around the world depend on Hartzell propellers to deliver optimal performance and safety in flight. To ensure our customers have access to the highest quality service possible, we’ve assembled a global network of Recommended Service Facilities (RSFs). This elite squad of independent propeller shops were carefully chosen only after meeting our rigorous standards for excellence.
But what exactly does it take to become a member of Hartzell Propeller’s elite team of Recommended Service Facilities? In our Recommended Service Facility spotlight series, we’re sharing stories from prop shops around the world to answer that very question. In our latest RSF feature, we’re shining the spotlight on Canadian Propeller, Western Canada’s only RSF.
Canadian Propeller was established in 1991 by Maurice and Debbie Wills. Maurice, the President and General Manager, worked as a licensed propeller technician at another Hartzell-approved repair station before starting his own independent company. With over 35 total years of experience in the aircraft propeller MRO environment, Wills understands both the management and technical side of servicing propellers. He holds a current P (Propeller) license as well as valid Non-Destructive Testing Level I and II licenses.
Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canadian Propeller works with commercial airliners, private operators, medevacs, agricultural aircraft, charter aircraft, and “anything with a propeller on it, from Cessna 150s to Beech 1900s to Dash 8s and everything in between,” according to Wills.
Today, the modern, fully-equipped facility covers over 11,000 square feet and serves a vast customer base in Western and Northern Canada and beyond. The skilled technicians at Canadian Propeller specialize in aircraft propeller and governor maintenance, propeller fleet consulting, component management, and asset valuations. The prop shop also offers state of the art in-house non-destructive testing, utilizing liquid penetrant inspection, magnetic particle inspection, and eddy current methods.
When Wills and his wife Debbie’ first opened the doors to Canadian Propeller over 25 years ago, they had to start from scratch. Initially, the shop had no factory approvals, but upon picking up a military contract, the Wills’ found they needed to be Hartzell-approved to complete the project.
“Luckily, we had developed a strong relationship with Hartzell Propeller before going on our own,” said Wills. “Earning factory approval is no small feat, but Hartzell knew us and had a lot of faith in our company. So, when the opportunity came, we worked hard and received the Hartzell RSF endorsement.”
Now, as a longstanding member of the RSF network, Canadian Propeller reflects Hartzell’s commitment to safety, quality, and performance. Providing superior propeller care and maintenance service is essential, especially considering Canada’s harsh flying environment, said Wills.
“Many of the aircraft here are working machines that must operate in extreme cold weather and on unpaved runways. We are constantly fighting against blade damage from gravel,” he said.
“On several occasions, we’ve had Hartzell come up to meet with our customers one-on-one to get a better understanding of what they want and need from the product when operating in this very harsh environment,” Wills said. “The folks at Hartzell truly care and take the time to visit the people who use their products—that’s huge.”
He added, “Because we have such a strong relationship with Hartzell, we’ve also been able to work closely with them on product improvements, as well as special programs and government operations.”
When asked about the latest happenings at Canadian Propeller, Wills said the company is focused on continuous training and improvement.
“We have to look to the future,” he said. “As more owners and operators transition from aluminum blades to the advanced composite blades, we’re constantly investing in tooling and training to provide our customers with the highest level of service.”
To maintain status as an RSF, Canadian Propeller must pass Hartzell’s regular on-site quality systems and extensive process audits. The shop’s certified technicians receive ongoing training and education to properly service and maintain Hartzell products.
Enhancing customer service is another area of focus for Canadian Propeller. “Years ago, all our communication was by phone, but now we’re able to keep in touch with customers via email and even text messages,” said Wills. “The way we see it, we’re more than suppliers to our customers; we’re partners. They know they can rely on us. Looking out for what’s best for our customers is key to our business.”
Employee development and satisfaction is also an essential factor for Canadian Propeller’s continued success, said Wills. “We care about our team and developing their careers. We want them to feel proud of their work and genuinely enjoy what they do.”
Wills, who is a pilot, says he strives to create opportunities for his employees to experience aviation outside of the shop environment. He has even taken his team out for airplane and helicopter rides around the city. “Sitting in an airplane and knowing you did the work on the propeller brings a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction,” he said. “It helps our team see why we’re so committed to quality and safety.”
Like Hartzell Propeller, Canadian Propeller takes pride in being a family-owned company. Wills says he has strategically planned to ensure the company moves seamlessly from generation to generation.
“Looking ahead, we’re all about building and maintaining strong relationships — with our customers, our employees, and our partners,” said Wills. “We’re passionate about propellers, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for Canadian Propeller.”
At Hartzell Propeller, we’re proud of the long-standing partnerships we’ve formed with exceptional propeller shops around the world, including Canadian Propeller.
“Canadian Propeller is a valued and trusted member of the Hartzell Recommended Service Facility network,” said JJ Frigge, Executive Vice President of Hartzell Propeller. “Their experience, capability, and dedication to quality help distinguish them as one of the premier prop shops in Canada.”
Located throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, Hartzell’s selected RSFs guarantee that owners and operators are never more than a short flight or drive away from a repair center.
To find your nearest Hartzell Recommended Service Facility, click here.