Fundamental Propeller Functions and Their Systems

Posted on August 26, 2021 James Hinds Aircraft

Not all aircraft achieve flight through the same methods of propulsion. Whether classified as a lighter-than-air or heavier-than-air vehicle, aircraft can be categorized based on the type of propulsion system it utilizes to generate forward movement. Developed from earlier forms of aircraft employing internal combustion engines to power rotary engine technology, aircraft and their use of propellers have evolved over the decades to suit piston and turboprop engine types. However, as engines grew in size to support larger, more powerful aircraft, propellers had to follow suit. Manufactured for specific engine capabilities, a propeller’s design is directly related to its generated thrust and must be capable of counterbalancing an engine’s power to ensure optimal performance.

Fastened to a central hub along an aircraft's engine shaft, propellers often consist of two or more blades which generate thrust. Powered by the engine to produce momentum, linear motion is subsequently converted into circular motion after each power stroke of a piston, relying on the turning of a crankshaft to repeat the thermodynamic process. Common types of propellers installed in aircraft include fixed-pitch, ground-adjustable, controllable-pitch, constant-speed, feathering, and reverse-pitch propellers, each of which excels in their own set of specific conditions. Nevertheless, propeller blades can dramatically vary in design depending on aircraft model and the type of engine being used.

When applied to larger aircraft, the availability for additional blades, blade angle, propeller disk diameter, propeller revolutions per minute (RPM), blade airfoil camber, and blade chords become limited. To account for the increase in vehicle size, engine size, and the combined capabilities of both parts, it is imperative that an appropriate propeller design is chosen for any individual aircraft. Alongside the use of propellers for piston powered aircraft, they can also be combined to create fans for gas turbine engines.

To ensure the propellers on your aircraft are always up to standard, they should be regularly maintained as per manufacturer recommendation. Upon visual inspection, a maintenance professional should meticulously examine each propeller blade, spinner, hub, and all external surfaces for any potential oil leaks or defects. Simultaneously, any spinner or dome shell fasteners must be tightened to reinforce blade stability. If you find yourself in need of new parts, ensure that all of your propeller specifications have been met with ASAP AM Spares, today.

At ASAP AM Spares, to guarantee your aircraft is running as it should, we have all the necessary parts to fit your specific applications. As a dependable distributor of aircraft propeller blades, composite blades, spinners, rivets, hubs, mounting bolts, metal caps, and various aircraft spare parts, we invite you to browse our inventory for numerous aircraft propellers and their applicable components. Due to our quality control and export compliance, we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If you would like to request a quote for your comparisons, you can submit an RFQ form as provided on our website. Upon receipt, a dedicated account manager will quickly review and respond with a personalized solution to your needs in just 15 minutes or less, 24/7x365.

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