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Preventing Corrosion with Propeller Maintenance

Aircraft propeller maintenance procedures are strict and rigid – and for a good reason. Ensuring that the propellers of any craft are in optimum condition is essential for maintaining onboard safety. Propeller inspection is a vital part of this, as is taking measures to prevent damage and issues.

Corrosion is one of the most significant factors in the deterioration of propellers, and this can be expensive and dangerous. Luckily for you, here at Stockton Propeller, we make it our mission to keep you informed and educated. In turn, this means you can keep your aircraft in tip-top condition for longer.

What Is Corrosion?

In the simplest terms, ‘corrosion’ refers to the breakdown of a material – usually metal – due to a chemical reaction. Typically, this will involve the oxidation of metals with air or water molecules.

Corrosion can also occur when an acidic or base material comes into contact with something else. Corrosion impacts the physical properties of a material, making it weaker or less effective.

When it comes to aircraft, this can be very dangerous.

vintage propeller blades

What Are Common Types of Propeller Corrosion?

There are many causes of aircraft propeller corrosion. Familiarising yourself with the most common will help you prevent them. These most common corrosion causes include:

1. Uniform Surface Attack

The most common type of corrosion, uniform surface corrosion, is caused by the metal’s exposure to the oxygen in the air. Uniform surface attacks usually occur where paint wears away from the surface.

Decay will be accelerated if the surface is not adequately prepared before painting. It can also be exacerbated if the propeller is exposed to high humidity, acids, or pollutants.

2. Intergranular Corrosion

This type of corrosion is less common but more disastrous. Once you have discovered it, it is usually too late to save the propeller.

Intergranular corrosion occurs between the grains or crystals of the materials and may appear in the presence of tensile stress. Here, cracks may occur along grain boundaries, and progress along the paths until total decay occurs. 

This type of corrosion usually occurs as a result of chromium depletion and can be avoided using materials with less than 0.05% carbon.

3. Stress Corrosion

Stress corrosion is prevalent in highly stressed areas of the aircraft, such as propellers, engine crankshafts, or landing gears. Scratches or corrosion to the metal surface is usually the primary cause and can result in the component’s failure.

4. Crevice or Deposit Corrosion

Another common form of corrosion is crevice, or deposit, corrosion, and can occur anywhere, which traps pollutants or moisture. Rivets and lapped skin joints are prime examples, and this can result in a weakening of the entire structure if left untreated.

5. Filiform Corrosion

The first sign of this is usually fine, worm-like lines or corrosion which show up under paintwork. Over time, this will turn into a bubbling, flaking surface, leading to long-term damage. Filiform corrosion is most commonly found on aluminum or magnesium surfaces, which have been inadequately prepared for polyethylene paints.

small private aircraft

Reduce the Risk of Corrosion with Aircraft Propeller Maintenance Procedures

Corrosion can be catastrophic to an aircraft, especially when it occurs on the propeller. These are the heart of the craft, and a failure here can lead to tragedy in the air. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of corrosion, and these revolve around proper maintenance.

Wash Your Aircraft

Taking a little time to wash and care for your craft can really pay off in the long run. If you have undergone a long flight, make sure you rinse off the aircraft to remove any corroding agents. 

Take extra time and care on propellers, do not use a pressure washer, and make sure these are treated with corrosion inhibitor products where appropriate.

Cleaning your propeller blades properly can help to increase their lifespan, and well as reducing corrosion. Different materials will have different requirements, as follows:

  • Aluminum and steel propellers should avoid caustic or acidic materials, as well as steel brushes, steel wool, or power buffers. Instead, use a brush or cloth with a suitable cleaning solvent, and add a suitable polish if required. Once clean, coat the propellers in engine oil.
  • Wooden propellers need warm water and mild soap, with a cloth or brush.
  • Remember to rinse in freshwater as soon as possible if it has been in contact with salt water, and thoroughly dry once finished.

Use Covers

Covering your aircraft helps to protect it from the elements, and this can also be applied to propellers. Investing in quality propeller covers allows you to increase the lifespan of these parts and keep them safe from corrosive factors.

Keep The Aircraft As Dry As Possible

Staying dry can be easier said than done if you live in a damp climate, but it is essential to try. Make sure your craft is dried off thoroughly, and don’t leave propellers to simply ‘drip-dry.’

Cessna 172

Carry Out Regular Propeller Inspections

Ultimately, implementing a strict, regular inspection and maintenance program is the easiest way to reduce corrosion. A scheduled propeller inspection plan will allow you to get to know the aircraft, flagging up any inconsistencies or changes immediately. It also allows you to treat corrosion as it arises, rather than leaving it to spread.

What Is Involved In A Propeller Inspection?

A regular inspection should include a visual overview of the propeller and any other security features. As a rule, you should check:

  • Propeller blades and spinners for any grease deposits or the presence of excessive oils
  • Weld and braze sections for evidence of weakness or failure
  • For any scratches, nicks, or flaws on the propeller.
  • Bolts and screws for tightness and proper safety.
  • Ensure oil levels and lubricating requirements are sufficient.propeller maintenance keeps planes flying

Preventing Corrosion with Propeller Maintenance

Learning to undertake regular, thorough maintenance and inspections are crucial elements of owning an aircraft. At Stockton Propeller, we have the skills, experience, and equipment you need to keep your propellers in the best condition. 

Get in touch today, and ask one of our experts how we can help keep your craft airborne for longer.

 

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Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Flying

There are few experiences available to humans that offer the exhilaration of total freedom and limitless vistas while saving significant travel time. Getting your pilot license and flying a private aircraft accomplishes these feats and then some.

Training for your pilot license is more accessible than you might imagine. View the world from above with us as we detail several ways “regular” people can and should learn to fly.

Stockton Propeller is a full-service propeller overhaul and maintenance facility with the function and performance of your aircraft as the height of our service. Stockton Propeller can perform needed propeller inspections to help ensure your airplane is in good working order.

We perform static balancing in-house to keep your aircraft in top-flight shape. Visit our website today to learn more and enjoy your flight.

A Pilot License for Every Flyer’s Dream

Portrait of confident pilot standing with stewardess and private jet in background at terminal

Pilot licensure varies tremendously. Selecting the type of pilot license you want depends largely on your flight goals. You can choose to apply for a private pilot license all the way up to a commercial license. You may even want to become a flight instructor if you’ve dreamt of flying as a career. 

There are several pilot designations between private and commercial. You can specialize in recreational and sport pilot certificates depending upon your purpose in flying and budget. In the classroom setting you will learn about aircraft propeller maintenance procedures

Dipping your toe in the flying world begins with a student license, for which you must apply. In addition to filling out the required paperwork and training eligibility with the FAA, you’ll also have to pass a medical exam. 

People in general good health typically can fly planes and other aircraft legally. However, if you have a chronic condition, you may want to check it against this FAA list to see if it may affect your pilot training eligibility.

If the FAA approves your pilot license application, it’s time to obtain a student pilot license.

Learn at Your Pace

Thankfully, the eligibility requirements for a student pilot license are pretty straightforward:

  • Be at least 16 years of age (14 if you’ll pilot a balloon or glider)
  • Have fluency speaking, writing, and reading in the English language (the Universal language of pilots and the flight industry)

Once you’ve applied for and obtained your student pilot license and your medical certificate, you can begin fight training.

Finding a local flight school in your area is pretty simple: Google “flight schools near me,” and you’ll get an array of options.

Join the Piloting Community

If you know another pilot, you might try to get a referral for a reputable school near you. Check on their comprehensive offerings, and be sure to compare costs between providers. This type of activity may not be the place to seek out the biggest discount, just saying. 

A happy professional woman pilot sitting at the airport.

Instead, look for experience, reliability, an excellent safety rating, and stellar reviews online or on social media. When learning to fly, you may want to gain more background on the pilot community. Try searching out and joining a few social media groups dedicated to flying and learning to fly in your area. 

When you join the piloting community, you’ll share unique skills and experience in common with a dynamic and daring group of people all over the world.

Learn new skills at every age

Your training will include ground-based classes to learn the science and physics of flight, safety procedures, emergency protocols. And you can expect to learn the rules and regulations of the airspace during this time.

You’ll also log flight time with an instructor to learn how to operate a single-engine aircraft. To gain licensure, you must log 35 hours of flight time in varied conditions and aircraft. You’ll also take written exams, pass the FAA check ride, and be a licensed driver.

The beauty is you learn at your pace, depending on your flight school’s training schedule. A typical student can earn her PPL in about three months!

Gain Confidence, Learn More, Fly Bigger Planes

Learning to fly means plenty of advancement opportunities for the hobbyist and professional alike. Once you’ve achieved your PPL, you can choose to maintain that foundational licensure. Or, advance your skills, experience, or career in flying with the following certificates:

  • Commercial Pilot License: Obtain this certificate if you wish to earn money as a pilot. PPL holders cannot receive compensation for flying.
  • Airline Transport Pilot License: To fly for commercial airlines, this certificate is required of all pilots.
  • Commercial Multi-Engine Land: Think of this certificate as an add-on to your PPL or CPL. You’ll cover different equipment and emergencies and how to navigate them safely.
  • Certified Flight Instructor: This level of training allows you to teach new students pilots how to fly.

There are several more advanced certificates available that you can add to your credentials as you gain experience and knowledge. With changing technology and climate, flight education and safety procedures evolve over time. Pilots must stay on top of new industry developments as they arise.

Flying is Fun, Relaxing, and Can Save Time on Travel

Of course, flying is an endeavor to take up with safety, education, and experience in mind. However, there are over 600,000 licensed pilots in the United States alone! 

Further, when you fly, traffic is much less of an issue. True, you’ll have to be watchful and communicative on take-offs, landings, and near airports. But, for longer flights, private air travel may be as safe as driving on the road.

No Ownership Required

Though many pilots own an aircraft, it’s possible to rent an airplane to log your hours or fly for fun. Typical rental rates run about $125.00 per hour, depending on the type of aircraft. You’ll want to check rental policies to find out if fuel and other fees may cost extra.

Co-ownership is also an option for pilots who want to fly, but not own and maintain an aircraft by themselves.

Call Stockton Propeller to Keep Your Airplane Flying Happy and Safe

Stockton Propeller keeps your propeller blades balanced and in top shape for safe and reliable flying time, every time you take off (and land, for that matter.) To get a repair quote or view our current inventory, visit Stockton Propeller today.

We lead the industry in safety, functionality, and customer service for every aircraft and pilot we serve.