While Hartzell Propeller introduced the first composite propeller blade over 70 years ago, modern composite props are still relatively new to general aviation pilots. Although advanced composite propellers are growing in popularity, many aircraft owners still wonder about the advantages of carbon fiber composite aircraft propellers over their wood or aluminum counterparts. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons to make the move to a composite prop:
One of the top benefits of composite propellers is that they weigh significantly less than aluminum props. A lightweight propeller not only increases the aircraft’s useful load, but it also helps to reduce wear and tear on the engine. Switching to a lighter, composite prop can also lead to improved fuel efficiency, benefitting your wallet and the environment.
Limit vibration and noise
Another reason owners and operators choose composite props is to reduce vibration and cabin noise. Vibration is noisy, but it can also cause passenger discomfort and damage to the engine and avionics systems. Composite blades tend to have a dampening effect on engine vibration, leading to smoother operation. Because composite blades are so lightweight, it allows manufacturers to add more blades, which can enable a diameter reduction. Generally, a reduction in the propeller diameter leads to lower tip speeds and as a result, less noise. At Hartzell Propeller, we configure composite blades in hubs with 2-blade through 6-blades.
Save on maintenance and repair
At Hartzell, our composite propellers are full carbon fiber structural composite, not composite over a wood core. This makes them extremely durable, and much easier to repair and maintain. While the overhaul process for aluminum blades involves removing permanent material by grinding or filing it down, composite blades are repaired by replacing material that was lost to nicks or gouges. This means that unlike aluminum blades, composites can easily be returned to factory specifications, even after multiple overhauls. Additionally, small repairs between overhauls can be made with little or no assistance from a prop shop, helping owners save time and money.
Because composite propellers use stronger materials, it’s possible to design airfoils that are thinner, wider, and overall more aerodynamic. At Hartzell, our composite props are specially engineered to deliver a number of performance enhancements in every phase of flight, including shorter take-off distance, better ground clearance, increased climb rate, increased cruise speed, and smoother operation.
With better performance, improved vibration and noise reduction, more reliability, and low life-cycle costs – not to mention enhanced ramp appeal – it’s clear to see why more and more aircraft owners and manufacturers are switching to composite propellers. For more information about Hartzell Propeller’s selection of next-generation composite props, contact us today! We are happy to help you find the best propeller suited for your aircraft.