July 30, 2013 - No matter how many piston or turboprop engines one's airplane has, their configuration, or the fuel used, there's one common component: propellers.
Despite how ubiquitous propellers are among general aviation, they vary quite a bit among airframes and manufacturers. And the latest propellers incorporate some high-tech features, for both large and small airplanes.
At the low end of the airplane performance spectrum comes Sensenich and its line of ground-adjustable propellers. Most recently, the company announced a new prop designed specifically for the Van's RV class of aircraft, when powered by a Lycoming O-320 engine. The new propeller features the company's proprietary airfoils on a semi-scimitar planform for improved takeoff and climb performance.
Additional features for the composite-blade prop include blade indexing, which means there's no need for protractors or other such tools. Instead, both blades achieve the same pitch, simultaneously, when adjusted. The company says changing pitch on any Sensenich ground-adjustable propeller "takes literally less time than it takes to remove the spinner."
The 18-pound propeller is available for $3,500 through Sensenich OEMs, retailers or direct from the factory. To learn more, stop by Exhibit 4145-4157 in Hangar D, or visit www.Sensenich.com.
At the other end of the performance spectrum comes Hartzell, with a new FAA-certified propeller designed with Raisbeck Engineering for aftermarket installation on Beech King Air twins. The companies say the Raisbeck/Hartzell Swept Turbofan Propeller is the first business aviation turbine propeller using practical swept-wing theory as an integral part of its design. It's designed for the King Air 200 family of business turboprops.
The new prop incorporates aluminum blades and hubs to keep both weight and cost to a minimum. Overhaul times are a high and generous 4,000 hours/six years, and propeller diameter has been increased to 96 inches-a full 2 inches larger than Raisbeck's current offerings for the King Air 200/B200/B200GT family.
But what are the benefits of incorporating swept blades? According to the companies, they include slightly reduced perceived sound levels and increased low-speed performance. At high speeds, "improvements and reduction in cockpit and cabin noise are attributable to the swept-back blade design."
The 2013 price for a complete shipset of the new Swept Turbofan Propellers is $83,400. To learn more, visit Hartzell at Exhibit 1035-1037 in Hangar A or visit www.HartzellProp.com.