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experimental aircraft

The Ins & Outs Of Experimental Aircraft

The popularity of working with one’s own hands to take to flight began long before the Wright brothers ever started experimenting in Kitty Hawk. Flying machines were being thought up, experimented with, and attempted long before the settlers colonized the U.S.

But, unfortunately, those early “homebuilt” machines weren’t always safe. To make these machines safe, the government found it necessary to have some oversight. That oversight began in October of 1952. 

For the first time, the U.S. government included an “experimental” amateur-built category in the Civil Aeronautics Manual. Perhaps not so coincidentally, it was around this same time, in January of 1953, that the Experimental Aircraft Association was founded in Wisconsin.

At Stockton Propeller, we love the challenge of working with our experimental aircraft customers and on their custom aircraft propellers. If you’re looking for someone in the Northern California/Nevada region to work on your homebuilt’s propellers including to repair the propeller blade, contact us today.

What Is An Experimental Aircraft?

“Experimental” is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designation for amateur-built or homebuilt aircraft. The “experimental” identification has been around for over 60 years. 

It’s an aircraft used for non-commercial or recreational purposes, such as education or personal use. The term refers to the FAA category for the airplane’s registration, not the exclusivity of the plane’s design or the aircraft’s use. 

Suppose an individual builds at least 51% of an aircraft. In that case, one may register the plane in the FAA’s “Experimental” or amateur-built category. 

Builders can work from kits (with parts of the airplane fabricated) or plans (where the builder purchases all the pieces and then assembles them). 

These amateur-built, or experimental, airplanes are also commonly referred to as “homebuilts.” The name is obvious because many individuals construct aircraft and custom aircraft propellers at home. Construction often occurs in their garages or other outbuildings.

There are currently over 32,000 amateur-built aircraft licensed by the FAA. They have been registered and flown safely for many years.

Curiously, the FAA’s “Experimental” category also includes approximately ten other subcategories. These include aircraft used for crew training or air racing. They also have historic aircraft (such as World War II military aircraft) flown in air shows and exhibitions.

Experimental aircraft are not the same as “ultralights.” Ultralights are one-person flying machines operating under a completely different set of federal regulations. 

Amateur experimental aircraft and homebuilt custom aircraft propellers are registered with the federal government in the same manner as production aircraft with corresponding “N-numbers” on the fuselage.

Who Builds Experimental Airplanes?

There isn’t just one demographic for those interested in taking on this project themselves. Builders include astronauts, airline pilots, military jet pilots, mechanics, machinists, welders, professional people, and many others.

Why do they build them?

There’s a variety of reasons why someone chooses this particular DIY project. 

  • They could see it as a personal challenge
  • They may want to educate themselves more on the “nuts and bolts” of flying
  • They could be seasoned pilots looking to increase their performance in the skies
  • They may want to invest some “sweat equity” into custom planes and airplane propellers instead of purchasing a manufactured aircraft. 

While a few homebuilt airplanes are custom or original designs, the vast majority of builders use standardized, tried-and-true kits or plans. These plans or kits are constructed successfully by the hundreds, if not thousands.

What Goes Into Building Your Airplane and Custom Airplane Propellers?

Most enthusiasts will tell you that it’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.

The cost of building your airplane range may range from under $10,000 to more than $100,000. Many factors contribute to this price variation, including your desired performance characteristics and any optional engine and avionics packages you choose

For comparison, a new factory-built Cessna 172 costs more than a quarter of a million dollars. 

Many homebuilts utilize composite materials that help create lighter, faster, and more fuel-efficient airplanes than similar production aircraft.

It can take a while, however….

Building an amateur aircraft and your custom airplane propellers will take somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 hours to complete, on average.

Some individuals complete their airplane in less than a year. Others may take a decade or more.

A Few “Extra” Facts About Experimental Aircraft

  • Experimental aircraft are regulated, just like manufactured aircraft. The plane still has to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, inspected by an FAA inspector, and issued an airworthiness certificate.
  • An amateur-built airplane is subject to the same condition inspections every 12 months as small production aircraft undergo.
  • You don’t need a license to build your aircraft; all you need is the will fly one! To fly, you must earn and maintain the same federal pilot’s training and ratings as those who fly factory-built aircraft, including Pipers, Cessnas, and Beechcraft. 
  • Also, planes and custom airplane propellers must follow the same appropriate federal regulations during their flights.
  • Experimental aircraft are practically as safe as manufactured aircraft. Studies by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) show that experimental aircraft have an accident rate of less than 1% higher than the general aviation community.

Finding The Right People To Work On Your Custom Aircraft Propellers

There are very few surprises or breakthroughs when it comes to experimental aircraft design. 

Much like a relationship, every airplane build is a compromise: If you want a little more of this, you have to give up some of that. And vice versa. 

The freedom to fly something that doesn’t meet standard certification means that an airplane licensed in the experimental category will most likely fly differently than the norm. 

Its performance is optimized toward certain criteria that were important to the designer and builder. You’ll probably see sacrifices in other details to achieve that end.

Homebuilding is about freedom. The freedom to build what you want, use whatever materials you choose, and achieve whatever point you wish to make. Because homebuilders can create, modify, or change their aircraft as they want, there may be a chance for replication.

Then there’s always the freedom of expression. A homebuilt is like a blank canvas. The builder sketches out pretty much anything they want, putting their name on a design. They are free to do so, as long as it doesn’t endanger their life, passengers, or the populace below during flights.

At Stockton Propeller, we love the challenge of working with our experimental aircraft customers and working on their custom aircraft propellers. If you’re looking for someone in the Northern California/Nevada region to work on your homebuilt’s propellers, contact us today.

Categories
propeller inspection

Replacing vs. Repairing Your Airplane Propeller

An airplane’s propeller is one of the most highly-stressed and most-overlooked components on any aircraft. During routine operation, 10 to 25 tons of centrifugal force is pulling the hub’s propeller blades. Also, the propeller blades are bending and flexing due to thrust and torque. 

Engineers design propellers to be properly maintained and to perform normally under these loads. But when damage occurs due to corrosion, stone nicks, or worse, additional unintended stress is imposed. In that case, the margin of safety may not be adequate. Operating an aircraft needing a propeller replacement or propeller overhaul can be a dangerous risk. 

Propellers may need a professional propeller shop’s special attention and capabilities for many reasons, such as scheduled overhaul limits, operating inspections, and major repairs. Not to mention – propeller replacements!

If you’re worried about your propellers or require a propeller governor repair or propeller overhaul, talk to the experts at Stockton Propeller. With decades of experience and free service area pick-up and delivery, we’re the propeller experts who keep you flying!

A Quick Recap On Composite Airplane Propellers

Airplane propellers have been around, well, since the first powered flight. In the early days of aviation, propellers broke at an alarming rate. This breaking was a function of being carved from wood, a porous and fibrous structural tissue.

Today aluminum and structural composite blades are standard, and repairing them when they get dinged has become commonplace. Damage can result from stones and other objects and impact with external objects or the ground.

Repairing a structural composite blade is quite different because instead of just removing material, composite repairs replace material lost to gouges and other damage.

Beyond their obvious weight advantage over aluminum blades, structural composite blades have additional benefits:

  • A longer service life
  • The ability to maintain an optimum airfoil shape over the propeller’s service life
  • An almost infinite fatigue life
  • An expert can repair most damage
  • Far more robust when it comes to erosion and impact
  • Can withstand a lot more impact without affecting its airworthiness
  • Can be repeatedly restored to factory-new shape and aerodynamics

While the composite materials that form propellers are incredibly durable, they are not entirely immune to operational damage. Propeller manufacturers have created and published protocols to help airplane operators and maintainers determine when and how to repair composite blades.

Overview Of Propeller Issues

Most airplane propeller issues fall into one of two categories: corrosion or physical damage.

Corrosion

One of the most insidious causes of damage to a propeller is corrosion, both external and internal. External corrosion is visible on the blades. Internal corrosion eats at the components within the variable-pitch propeller. Regardless of whether it’s internal or external, corrosion reduces the propeller’s structural integrity, as well as its performance.

Physical Damage

Physical propeller damage include nicks, dings, gouges, and cracks on both the propeller blades and the propeller governor. 

A propeller repair shop has the tools to do much more detailed inspections of propellers for cracks, including optical, eddy current, dye penetrant, and magnetic particle inspections. However, routine examinations for damage visible to the naked eye are crucial for good propeller health.

According to the FAA’s Advisory Circular AC 20-37E, “Limited minor repairs may be made on propellers by appropriately rated maintenance technicians either on the aircraft or upon removal of the propeller. Minor dents, cuts, scars, scratches, and nicks may be removed, providing their removal does not weaken the blade, substantially change weight or balance, or otherwise impair its performance.”

Why Repairing Is (Sometimes) Better Than Replacing

There are many valid reasons for repairing rather than replacing. These include: 

  • saving money, 
  • continuing working with a component that is otherwise known to be good, 
  • supporting good mechanics in their business, 
  • and saving the planet from a little more “airplane junk” in the dump.

Aircraft owners should consider all the costs of time, expense, and safety when considering what course to follow while performing maintenance

Some mechanics prefer replacement over repairing a component. All FAA-licensed mechanics are authorized to do most repairs or replacement tasks, as long as they have the proper training, tools, and documentation.

In truth, most of your aircraft’s components can be repaired by your trusted mechanic, as long as they have the proper training and tools. The question is, should you have the propeller repaired or replaced altogether?

It’s important to consider:

  • How critical are the components to my safety and the safety of future flights? (Hint: Propellers are VERY important!)
  • What are the costs of repairing versus replacing (including your own time, shipping costs, and parts/labor)?
  • How will propellor governor repair versus replacement affect the future reliability (and future maintenance cost) of your aircraft?

All manufacturers publish “time before overhaul” (TBO) guidelines for their propellers. These TBO guidelines are based on both the in-flight hours and the calendar months the propeller has been in service. These guidelines typically range from 1,000 to 3,000 flight hours and five to seven years in service. 

The Case For Replacement

So we’ve already covered the main questions on whether to deal with repairing vs. replacing above. 

Why else might someone choose to replace a propeller?

  • You’ve reached your propeller’s operational life limit.
  • It seems obvious, but it’s imperative to pay attention to your aircraft propeller’s time before overhaul (TBO). Flying your aircraft with propellers beyond their intended service life is inadvisable and potentially dangerous. Overhauling or upgrading your propeller is an investment in your aircraft’s future safety and performance. 
  • You are ready for a dramatic performance increase.
  • With new propellers, pilots can (potentially) improve aircraft performance with: 
    • shorter take-off distances, 
    • lower noise levels, 
    • better ground clearance, 
    • reduced tip erosion, 
    • increased climb rates, 
    • increased cruise speeds, 
    • and overall smoother operation. 

How Do You Know Which “Flight Path” To Take?

Okay, we’re sorry about that awful pun. 

But we’re not sorry about being the best in propeller governor repair or propeller overhauls. 

Talk to us. We’re the experts at Stockton Propeller. With decades of experience and free service area pick-up and delivery, we’re the composite propeller experts who keep you flying!

Categories
flight

How An Airplane Propeller Works

Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion: If an object A exerts a force on object B, object B must exert a force of equal magnitude and opposite direction back on object A. This law is not always evident to the naked eye, but it is the crux of anything that moves us through the world. This “action and reaction” principle even applies to how an airplane propeller works. 

Your feet push against the ground propelling your body forward when you walk. Tires kick back against the road as the wheels on your car turn and move you down the road. But what about propeller-powered planes? These do, too!

A propeller is essentially a machine that moves you forward through the air as it turns, “lifting” you in the intended direction. Though it works much the same as a screw, it looks slightly different. Generally, a propeller has two, three, or four twisted blades (sometimes more) poking out at angles from a central hub spun around an engine or motor. The twists and angles are really important. A propeller is shaped like a wing, producing higher air pressure on one surface and lowering the air pressure on another surface.

We acknowledge that not everyone is as passionate about how propellers work as we are. And it’s okay if you’re not! If you are a private licensed pilot in California or Nevada, looking for “propeller repair near me,” contact Stockton Propeller.

How An Airplane Propeller Works

When the Wright brothers learned how to combine engine-powered propellers with the other parts of their flying machine design so they could go forward and upward simultaneously, the flight was born. Planes took to the skies!

The propellers’ inventors designed them to look somewhat like screws — and it’s easy to see why this basic design was their starting point. 

To “push” a screw into a wall, you apply a clockwise turning force to the screw with your screwdriver. The screw’s spiral groove (sometimes called a helical thread) converts the turning energy into a push that forces the screw into the wall and secures it there. 

Propellers are similar to screws, but they are not exactly twins. They are, of course, doing a completely different job. An airplane propeller’s purpose is to make more or less thrust (driving force) to varying points of a flight (during takeoff, during landing, or at a steady cruising speed). The propeller blade’s angle and its overall size and shape affect the thrust, and so too does the engine’s speed. 

Another difference is that while a screw moves into a simple, solid material and meets a (more or less) constant oppositional force, a propeller is moving in a fluid airstream, and there are all kinds of extra factors to consider. For example, although a propeller produces enough thrust to move you forward, it also has enough drag to hold you back and slow you down. 

Another difference between screws and propellers is that propellers have both twists AND angles. A screw has a constant pitch, while the slope of a propeller blade varies along its length. The rise is steepest at the hub (in the center) and shallowest at the tip. 

The propeller’s parts move at different speeds: the propeller blades’ tips move faster than the hub’s positions. The propeller blade’s angle should be greater near the hub, where the propeller is moving slowest. Then, shallower near the tips where the propeller is moving fastest. This reasoning is why propeller blades are slightly twisted. Without this twist, the propeller would be producing different amounts of thrust at the hub and the ends, which would put it under great stress.

How A Propeller Generates Thrust

Propellers generate thrust, but how exactly does that happen? 

A spinning propeller sets up an air pressure lower in front of the propeller and higher behind it. Downstream, the pressure eventually returns to normal conditions. As air passes through the propeller, the velocity is greater than the free stream because the propeller works on the airflow.

What About Acceleration?

For airplane acceleration, the thrust must be greater than the drag. By increasing both the engine power and the propeller revolutions (RPM), the air is increasingly accelerated across the propeller blades, creating a stronger pressure differential, pulling the airplane forward. This pressure differential accelerates the aircraft but limits the available thrust. As you accelerate, the drag load increases. Because of this, higher airspeeds require more power to accelerate.

A propeller’s efficiency also plays a large part in acceleration. At approximately the 80% efficiency point, any increase in forward airspeed results in a loss of propeller efficiency. This lack of efficiency at higher airspeeds also decreases the thrust and power available.

Propeller Diameter

A variable-diameter propeller would be most efficient in an ideal world, allowing for a large diameter for low airspeeds as well as a smaller diameter for high airspeeds. Due to structural, control, and weight issues, variable diameter propellers aren’t practical. Instead, the diameter of most propellers allows for a “happy medium” between varying airspeed operations.

Putting All Of This Together & Making It Work

Propellers convert engine horsepower into thrust by accelerating air and creating a low-pressure differential in front of the propeller. Since air naturally moves from high to low-pressure, you are pulled forward when your prop is spinning.

But if the propeller isn’t spinning correctly, isn’t precisely balanced, or needs other maintenance or repairs, you won’t be pulled forward. And this is where it gets dangerous!

We realize that everyone is not as passionate about how propellers work as we are. And it’s okay if you’re not! If you’re in Northern California or Nevada and you’re looking for “propeller repair near me,” contact Stockton Propeller.

Categories
flight

The History Of The Airplane Propeller

The science and art behind the design of airplane propellers started simply. The basis for the airplane propeller design’s original concept was the same as the concept behind the screw. That’s right, the simple screw. 

Of course, this screw design was well before different repair shops could handle repairing and replacing various parts for all aircraft sizes. For today’s aircraft propeller repairs, contact Stockton Propeller.

Back In The BCs

According to most aerospace history experts, Archytas of Tarentum is responsible for the invention of the screw. He lived from 428 BC to 350 BC. 

This invention was adopted quickly by the ancient Greek scientist Archimedes in 200 BC. 

The first screws were used to extract oils from olives and juice and move water up from wells with less effort. We know for sure that this was a commonplace technology used from Egypt to Greece and beyond. 

A “Little” Later On

Leonardo DaVinci, the great artist and inventor, sketched his first “flying machine,” or helicopter design in the mid-1400s. 

He never built this first helicopter or flying machine. But sketches of the design included an upward-facing “airscrew” that he believed would lift the machine off the ground with enough rotation.

The 1700s and 1800s Starred Major Developments

Yet it wasn’t until the mid-1700s that inventors began discussing how to use this technology to power boats by creating rotating screws, or boat propellers, to power vehicles through the water. 

By the 1800s, boat propellers had become the standard technology for a wide variety of marine vessels.

In the 1840s, Sir George Cayley designed a flying machine. His design included twin propellers. 

Another early pioneer was Alberto Santos Dumont, who designed his own propellers for his airships. He used aluminum for his propeller designs. 

The 1900s Took Over

However, the Wright Brothers would take the airplane propeller’s idea from paper to practicality in 1903. They introduced their twisted airfoil propeller design. The Wright Brothers threw out the old notion that airplane propellers’ design should be based on screws. They hypothesized that the design of an airplane propeller should look more like a wing than a screw. After all, wings create the lift that buoys the airplane. Airplane propellers, they reasoned, should be able to displace air backward to produce forward thrust. This reasoning led them to add a twist along the blade’s length. The twist ensured a more consistent angle of attack for the blade. The twist allowed for pulling a consistent amount of air toward the plane with each rotation.

Until the mid-1920s, propellers were made from wood and were fixed pitch, which significantly limited the aircraft’s performance capabilities. Wood propellers turned the aircraft engine’s power into thrust to propel the plane forward. They featured a permanently set blade angle, called fixed-pitch, and consisted of layers of wood. They were cheap, easy to manufacture, and light, and were the dominant propeller type for high-performance aircraft until the mid-1920s. After that, small general aviation aircraft relied upon them for thrust. The Vin Fiz, T-2, Douglas World Cruiser Chicago, and the Piper Cub feature wood propellers.

In 1929, Wallace Turnbull patented his original design for a variable pitch propeller. This new design allowed the pilot to manually adjust the blades’ pitch and maintain better control over the aircraft’s performance and operational efficiency.

In the 1940s, wide rectangular blades came into use as engine power increased, as they absorbed more energy than traditional round-tip blades. 

Later, engineers developed constant-speed propellers. Constant-speed propellers are variable-pitch propellers. They adjust pitch automatically to maintain a constant rotational speed easily. Many of today’s high-performance propeller airplanes use constant-speed props because they offer better performance and fuel efficiency.

Fast Forward To Today’s Aircraft Propellers & Repairs

Aviation has come an incredibly long way since the Wright Brothers first introduced their propeller design. Just as airplane design has progressed since the beginning of powered flight, aircraft propellers have transformed, too. The Wright Brothers’ newly-designed propellers were about 82% efficient compared to today’s 90% efficiency rate. To achieve those gains in efficiency, engineers have modified airplane propeller designs over the years. 

Today’s aircraft propellers are made from wood, aluminum, or composites. Designers may also reinforce the leading edge with nickel for strength and durability. 

Today, we see anywhere from two blades to six or more blades for propellers in operation. The blade count for any particular aircraft depends on many factors. These factors include: 

  • the engine power, 
  • the operating RPM for the propeller, 
  • the propeller’s diameter limitations, 
  • that aircraft’s performance requirements (including high-speed cruise, takeoff, loiter, etc.), 
  • any noise requirements, 
  • and various others.  

As an aircraft’s power increases, additional blades are generally required to utilize the increased power efficiently. High efficiency in modern airplane propellers comes from running the blade tip speed close to the speed of sound.

The perfect propeller design aims to convert the airplane’s engine’s energy into the thrust that propels the aircraft forward. Looking at an airplane propeller, you can see that its blade angle varies as you move from the base to the blade’s tip. This variance has to do with the fact that the blade’s speed is lower inboard and higher at the tip. The blade’s varying angle ensures that all of the thrust generated is about equal across the blade’s whole.

Stockton Propeller is a full-service governor, metal, and composite propeller overhaul and maintenance facility. We provide service to individuals, FBOs, and Air Carriers. For today’s aircraft propeller repairs, contact Stockton Propeller.

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types of propellers

Types of Propellers : Fixed-Pitch, Ground-Adjustable, Reverse-Pitch, & Test Club

In our last blog post, we discussed Constant-Speed, Controllable-Pitch, and Feathering Propellers for aircraft. In this blog post, we want to finish covering some other types of aircraft propellers. Namely, we’re going to look at fixed-pitch, ground-adjustable, reverse-pitch, and test club propellers.

Stockton Propeller is a full-service governor, metal, and composite propeller shop in Stockton, California. If you need a composite propeller repair or overhaul, contact Stockton Propeller first.

Now, let’s look at some additional types of propellers – and their differences.

Fixed-Pitch Propellers

A fixed-pitch propeller has the angle, or pitch, built into the propeller, as the name implies. The pitch cannot be changed once  the propeller is completed. 

A fixed-pitch propeller is just one piece. Only one pitch setting is possible, and the whole configuration is usually a two-blade propeller. Once built, the pilot cannot change the angle of the propeller. Fixed-pitch propellers are generally made of aluminum alloy or wood.

Fixed-pitch propellers are a compromise of best take-off and climb performance and cruise. Many single-engine aircraft use fixed-pitch propellers. The advantages to these propellers are they are less expensive, and they are a simple operation. This type of propeller does not require any control inputs from the pilot in flight.

Fixed-pitch propellers are further categorized into two categories: metal propellers and wooden propellers.

Metal Propellers

In 1940, the military popularized the use of solid steel propellers. Very few of these still exist, but were very efficient for the time. 

Craftsmen create modern metal propellers from high-strength, heat-treated, aluminum alloy. The result was extremely successful and became the future of the propeller creation. 

Metal propellers are now used extensively for all types of aircraft. The metal propeller’s general appearance is similar to the wood propeller, but the sections are generally thinner. 

Additionally, metal propellers offer significant advantages to wood propellers. Aluminum alloy makes  these incredibly strong and durable propellers. Metal propellers today are heat treated to enhance their natural properties and make them less prone to warping from heat or cold. 

Today, it isn’t easy to find an airplane propeller made of anything but metal, for a good reason!

Wooden Propellers

Before World War II, personal and business aircraft almost exclusively used wooden propellers. 

It’s important to note that a wood propeller is not cut from a solid block. 

A wood propeller is several separate layers of carefully selected and prepared wood. The most common woods used in making these now-vintage wooden propellers were black walnut, sugar maple, yellow birch, and black cherry.

The use of lamination of wood will reduce the tendency for the propeller to warp. For standard one-piece wood propellers, five to nine separate laminations, about ¾-inch thick each, are used.

Because of the advancements in crafting metal propellers, wooden propellers are not common today. 

Ground-Adjustable Propeller

The function of ground-adjustable propellers is similar to that of fixed-pitch aircraft propellers. The pitch, or angle, can only be changed when the propeller is not rotating. 

A clamping mechanism holds the propeller blade in place. Loosening this mechanism allows the angle to be changed. 

After tightening the clamping mechanism, the propellers’ pitch cannot be changed in flight to meet varying flight requirements. With such limitations, present-day airplanes don’t commonly use the ground-adjustable propellers.

Reverse-Pitch Propellers

Additional refinements, such as reverse-pitch propellers (mainly used on turboprops), are included in some propellers to improve their operational characteristics. Almost all reverse-pitch propellers are of the feathering type. 

A reverse-pitch propeller is a controllable propeller in which the pilot can change the angle to a negative value during operation. The reversible pitch feature aims to produce a negative angle that has thrust opposite the normal forward direction. 

Typically, when the landing gear is in contact with the runway after landing, the pilot can move the propellers to a negative pitch (reversed), which creates thrust opposite the aircraft direction and slows the aircraft. As the propeller moves into a negative angle, engine power is applied to increase the negative thrust. 

The negative pitch aerodynamically brakes the plane and reduces ground roll after landing. Reversing the propellers also reduces aircraft speed quickly on the runway just after touchdown and minimizes aircraft brake wear.

A reversible pitch aims to create a negative angle to manufacture thrust in the opposite direction held previously. Propellers may be repositioned to a negative pitch after the plane has landed to come to a complete stop. 

Reversible pitch propellers are also used on floatplanes to allow the plane to be backed out of the docking area. 

Test Club Propeller

A test club propeller tests and breaks in reciprocating engines. They provide the correct amount of load on the engine during the test break-in period. 

The multi-blade design also has the advantage of providing extra cooling airflow during testing.

Even More Overwhelmed? Need Help With Your Aircraft Propeller?

No need to be overwhelmed at all of the different types of propellers and options for your aircraft! Contact the pros at Stockton Propeller for all your propeller repairs and overhauls. They are experts on servicing metal and composite propellers and are happy to assist you in meeting your needs! 

Categories
types of propellers

Types of Propellers : Constant-Speed, Controllable-Pitch, & Feathering

When the Wright brothers first dreamt of the aerodynamics of flight, their designs looked different from planes today. We’re going to look more in-depth at varying types of aircraft propellers used on present-day aircraft. 

The propeller is the airplane part that converts rotational energy generated by its power into propulsive force. Propellers are an essential part of any aircraft. Without them, an airplane cannot fly. It’s imperative that, when choosing propellers for your plane, you take all of the conditions of operation into consideration. These include takeoff, climb, cruising, and high speed. 

Today, there are many types of aircraft propellers available. The simplest of these propellers is either the fixed-pitch or the ground-adjustable propeller. More complicated propellers include controllable-pitch and complex constant-speed systems (automatic systems). 

Stockton Propeller employs the experts in propeller repair. If you need to have your propellers inspected or overhauled, look no further than Stockton Propeller!

But first, let’s peek at some of the most common types of propellers – and their differences.

Constant-Speed Propellers

The constant-speed propeller utilizes a hydraulically- or electrically-operated pitch-changing mechanism controlled by the governor. The pilot, using the RPM lever in the cockpit, adjusts the setting of the governor. During operation, the constant-speed propeller will automatically change its angle to maintain constant engine speed. If engine power increases, the blade angle increases, allowing the propeller to absorb the additional energy while RPM remains constant. The same goes for the reverse. If the engine power decreases, the angle decreases, making the propellers take less air, steadying engine RPMs. The pilot selects the engine speed required for any particular type of operation.

Constant-speed propellers increase angle when the airplane dives and decrease angle when it climbs. These changes are due to the flight’s changing load. As such, the governor tries to keep the RPM constant. The propeller’s governor is the mechanism that allows a constant-speed propeller to work. A propeller governor senses the aircraft’s speed and changes the propeller’s angle to maintain a specific RPM. This change is accomplished by increasing or decreasing the oil pressure going to the propeller. A governor doesn’t consider the aircraft’s operational conditions.

As the plane goes into a dive, the propeller’s angle increases. This increase prevents overspeeding, and the power output doesn’t change – since there is no change to the throttle settings. The reverse happens during a climb. The governor will decrease the blade angle to keep the rpm at the desired setting. 

High-quality constant-speed propeller systems respond to small variations to ensure constant engine RPM stays consistent throughout the flight.

Each constant-speed propeller needs an opposing force that operates against the governor’s oil pressure. 

Multi engine and aerobatic propellers use counterweights mounted to the propeller blade to move in the high-pitch direction as the propeller turns. Some also use air pressure and springs to move the blades toward high pitch. Oil pressure from the governor will move the blades toward low pitch. 

Most single engine propellers use springs and an aerodynamic twisting moment to move the blades toward low pitch and oil pressure to move the blades to high pitch.

Controllable-Pitch Propellers

As the name suggests, the pilot can change a controllable-pitch propeller‘s pitch or angle during flight while the propeller is still running. The advantage of this is the alteration of the propeller’s angle to meet flight conditions. The pilot can change the propeller’s pitch in flight or operate the engine using a pitch-changing mechanism operated hydraulically or electrically.

The controllable-pitch propeller allows for a change of angle while the propeller is still rotating. This change enables the propeller to assume an angle that gives particular flight conditions the best performance. The pitch positions may be limited in number, as they are with a two-position controllable propeller. Or the pilot can adjust the pitch to any angle between the minimum and maximum setting. The use of controllable-pitch propellers makes it possible to attain the desired engine RPM for any particular flight condition.

It is easy to confuse these controllable-pitch propellers with constant-speed propellers, but the two are very different. 

Controllable-pitch propellers allow the propeller angle to be changed while the propeller is turning. But, the propeller must be changed manually by the pilot. The propeller’s angle will not change until the pilot alters it manually. The pitch on a constant-speed propeller can change automatically.

With the controllable-pitch propeller, the pilot changes the angle directly in flight. The angle will not change automatically, only when the pilot manually changes it. 

Feathering Propellers

Multi-engine aircraft use feathering propellers, reducing propeller drag to a minimum under engine failure conditions. A feathering propeller is a type of constant-speed propeller used on multi-engine aircraft. 

Feathering propellers have a mechanism to change the pitch to an angle of approximately 90 degrees. Usually, a propeller is feathered when the engine fails to produce the power needed to turn the propeller. By angling the propeller parallel to the direction of flight, the drag on the aircraft reduces. With the propellers parallel to the flight line, the propeller stops turning, and minimum windmilling, if any, occurs. 

Almost all small feathering propellers use oil pressure to take the propeller to a low pitch, while counterweights, springs, and compressed air take the propellers to a high pitch. Since the propellers would go to the feathered position during a shutdown, latches lock the propeller in the low-pitch position as the propeller slows down at shutdown. These can be external or internal, within the propeller hub. Centrifugal force holds the latches during a routine flight to ensure they don’t stop the propellers from feathering. Latches prevent excess load on the engine and starter at startup. If the propeller were in the feathered position during an engine start, it would place the engine under an undue burden during a time when the engine is already subject to wear.

Overwhelmed? In Need Of Propeller Repair? Just have questions?

Constant-speed, controllable-pitch, feathering… There’s no need to be overwhelmed at all of the different types of aircraft propellers! (Besides, we haven’t even covered all of them yet.) Please keep reading for our next blog post, where we’ll be continuing with more details about different types of propellers. 

In the meantime, Stockton Propeller employs the experts in composite propeller repair. If you need to have your propellers inspected or overhauled, look no further than Stockton Propeller!

Categories
wooden propellers

How To Care For & Maintain A Wooden Propeller

Airplane propeller blades are crafted out of several different materials, including wood, metal, and various composites. Wooden propellers seem to be romanticized by the pilots who prefer them. As a 2003 article from Air & Space magazine bemuses, “Wooden propellers are like Louisville Sluggers.”

While we don’t work on wooden propellers at our shop, we can certainly admire the craftsmanship. So today, we’re sharing a few tips on the care and maintenance of your aircraft’s “Louisville Sluggers”: wooden propellers. This care and maintenance plan includes, of course, knowing when you should have a propeller inspection. 

If you know that your composite propeller is ready for a propeller inspection or repair, give us a call. Stockton Propeller is a full-service propeller overhaul and maintenance facility with the needed equipment and expertise to perform static and dynamic balancing. Get inspection and maintenance before failure!

Wood Choice

The wood choice itself doesn’t make much difference when it comes to caring for your wood propellers. Wood propellers could be crafted from almost any type of hardwood. 

Historically, the most popular wood choices were mahogany, oak, walnut or black walnut, black cherry, yellow birch, or sugar maple. Almost all wooden propellers are also strengthened in some fashion (like lamination) to add strength. Fabric or metal coverings can also add to the propeller design and reinforce stability.

The Case For Wooden Propellers

Wood propellers are not certified for many planes these days. But for those for which they are certified, there are some definite advantages:

  • Wood propellers are lighter and increase payload.
  • Wood propellers can get up to speed much more quickly than most metal propellers.
  • Wood propellers cause less vibration. Metal propellers accumulate invisible flaws from vibrations and flexing.
  • Wood propellers are generally the less expensive choice.

What You Can Do To Care For A Wood Propeller Yourself

All propellers are subject to wear, fatigue, corrosion, and erosion. Wooden propellers are especially at risk for erosion and distortion.

A damaged propeller cuts your speed, diminishes your airplane’s performance, and increases your take-off distance. At worst, severely damaged propellers can cause engine failure and catastrophic airplane crashes.

Read Your Owner’s Manuals

Hey, your plane is a considerable investment. Of course, you’ve already done this! But, just on the off chance that you haven’t read them, make sure you read your owner’s manuals on each piece of equipment and the plane itself. 

Take inspection and overhaul recommendations to heart. Keep a calendar or record of everything.

Park It Horizontal

When your plane is parked – or if you have to remove your wooden propeller from the aircraft – make sure the propeller is horizontal. If you store it vertically, any moisture in the air around it or on the propeller could migrate to the lower half and cause a disproportionate weight balance or warping of the wood. 

If you’ve removed the propeller from the plane entirely, make sure it is horizontal, flat, and out of direct sunlight to keep the wood at its best. Do not ever store a propeller vertically!

Pre-Flight Propeller Inspections

Make sure you conduct your own pre-flight propeller inspections before every flight. It’s essential to routinely check for bruises, scars, or other damage to wood propellers and leading-edge protection. And, remember, more frequent inspections may be necessary when climate changes are extreme.

Clean The Propellers

During flights, propellers can pick up several different problems – including bugs, dirt, debris, and pollutants. All of these can not only cause problems on their own but can also mask issues that you’re trying to spot. 

Washing the propellers with a good, old-fashioned soap and water solution and soft brushes or cloths can easily take care of this after every flight. Just be sure you don’t get any liquid dripping down into the propeller’s hub.

If you’ve subjected your plane to saltwater, the propellers may need a little extra TLC. A freshwater flush or two should get rid of all traces of salt. While this may seem like a pain, it’s imperative to take the time to do this to avoid warping and erosion.

Wax The Propellers

Wax your wooden propellers as often as is suggested and with whatever type of wax your owner’s manual recommends. If you don’t have a recommendation, ask your “propeller guy” (like ours here at Stockton Propeller).

Don’t Push Or Pull

Do not ever grab the propellers to push or pull the aircraft. Use the tow bars to move the plane by hand. Exerting any force (pushing or pulling) on the propellers can affect the positioning of the blades. This incorrect positioning can harm flight performance.

When It’s Time For A Professional Propeller Inspection Or Repair

If you notice anything amiss in your pre-flight checks or you’ve hit the mandatory number of hours for an inspection or overhaul, make sure you get your appointment scheduled.

Do not attempt to fly anywhere if your wooden propeller shows any of these damage signs:

  • Any cracks in the hub bore (small or large)
  • A long, deep, wide crack parallel to the grain in any spot on the wooden propeller
  • An oversized or elongated hub bore or bolt holes
  • An appreciable warp (discovered by inspection or through rough operation)
  • An appreciable portion of wood missing from the propeller blade
  • A deep cut across the wood grain
  • A separated lamination along the length of the wooden propeller

Finally, sometimes, the damage is beyond repair – whether the propeller is too damaged or the repair costs more than a new propeller blade.

If you’re doing pre-flight inspections and paying close attention, it’s much easier to schedule an inspection and maintenance before that happens, though!

If you know that your composite propeller is ready for a propeller inspection or repair, give us a call. Stockton Propeller is a full-service propeller overhaul and maintenance facility with the needed equipment and expertise to perform static and dynamic balancing. Get inspection and maintenance before failure!

Categories
flight propeller inspection

Propeller Inspection Checklist

Propellers are one of the most critical parts of a well-built and well-maintained aircraft. As such, it’s essential to frequently run through a preflight or “walkaround” propeller inspection checklist. The last thing any pilot wants is to have to make an emergency landing because the propellers has failed.

Stockton Propeller is a full-service propeller overhaul and maintenance facility in Northern California with the needed equipment and expertise to perform the needed inspection and service on your propeller. Get inspection and maintenance before a failure happens on your aircraft. Contact us today.

Why Is Aircraft Propeller Inspection Important?

According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), “the root cause of mechanically induced accidents is almost always neglect.” The AOPA continues:

“On takeoff, propeller tip speeds approach the speed of sound. The blades must absorb not only the punishing vibration of the engine’s power pulses but also vibration caused by the oncoming airstream. Centrifugal loads – those forces that try to pull the blade out of the hub – amount to 10 to 20 tons per blade.

     The blades twist and flex. The stresses imposed on the prop are more concentrated in the small areas that are nicked or cut. These nicks and scratches act as stress risers, which can weaken the blade enough to eventually cause it to fail.

     When an engine quits, the airplane can glide to a safe landing. When a propeller blade is lost, the resulting imbalance can tear the entire engine from the aircraft, putting the center of gravity far beyond limits and rendering the aircraft uncontrollable.”

That scenario, of course, can be avoided with frequent inspections using this propeller inspection checklist. Performing these routine preflight inspections can clue you into any needed propeller maintenance or repairs.

working propeller

Stockton Propeller’s Propeller Inspection Checklist

A “walkaround” or preflight visual inspection of your aircraft’s propellers is vital for your plane’s safety and health. Even more important is the safety of you and your passengers or cargo. 

An important note: While the term “walkaround” may make it sound like this could be just a superficial glance. However,  this should instead be a studied review to gauge your craft’s airworthiness.

To perform a preflight visual propeller inspection, follow these steps:

  1. Get a clear view of the propeller area. In other words, make sure your propellers are clean. In the course of any flight, propellers can pick up dead bugs, dirt, and other pollutants. If your propellers are dirty, it will be challenging to get a good view of any defects. If the propellers are dirty, you can easily wash them off with a simple solution of dish soap and water. If you have to wash off the propeller area, make sure that your propellers are in the down position. This will prevent any liquid from getting into the seals and causing issues there.
  2. Check for surface damage. Carefully and thoroughly examine the aircraft’s propeller blades and other parts for any cracks, nicks, chips, corrosion, or other blemishes. Surface damage can be felt by running a fingernail along the propeller’s edge. For propellers made of wood or composite materials, check for delaminations or microcracks on the propeller surfaces, edges, and glue lines. If your propellers have any drain holes, check that they aren’t clogged. Clogged drain holes can lead to moisture retention and more significant problems down the road.
  3. Check for erosion. Examine the propeller for any and all signs of decay. Look over the paint job on the propeller blades and spinners for any imperfections. This paint on the propeller protects the surface from erosion. If erosion starts to occur, it can be a much more costly fix than having a professional touch up your paint job.
  4. Check for any loose or missing hardware or broken safety wire.
  5. Check for any broken or compromised seals.
  6. Check the straightness of the propeller blades. Perform a simple sight check for any deformations down the edges of the propeller blades. You can determine the straightness of the propeller blades with this simple sight check.
  7. Check for looseness. Flex the propeller blades forward and backward to inspect the intersection for any movement. There should be no movement at all.
  8. Check the hub. Gently shake each propeller blade to feel for blade movement in the hub of the propeller. A small degree – up to ⅛ inch – is allowable. If there is more movement than that, maintenance is needed immediately.
  9. Check for oil or grease leakage. Look for any grease or oil. There should be no oil or grease detected on the propeller blades or spinners. A couple of exceptions are if your propellers are brand new or you are in a hot climate with high RPM conditions.
  10. Update maintenance records. If you notice a small imperfection, make sure to note it in your aircraft’s maintenance records. Your repair person will know when you first saw the issue during a walkaround or preflight inspection. They will also know if the issue gets worse over time.

If, when following this checklist, you don’t see any areas of concern, your propellers are airworthy, and you are good to fly away!

close up of aircraft propeller
close up of aircraft propeller

How Often Should You Inspect Your Aircraft’s Propellers?

Before any flight, you should perform the above visual propeller inspection checklist of your aircraft’s propellers. 

Then, of course, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your scheduled overhauls and maintenance. Generally, these schedules are based on years and flight hours.
The recommended Time Between Overhaul (TBO) guidelines are mandatory for Part 135 commercial operators, but are only recommended for Part 91 pilots not flying for hire. That being said, Part 91 operators should follow the calendar recommendation for overhaul as a recommendation for inspection/reseal at the 5 or 6 year interval if the prop is less than halfway through the hour recommendation. This gives the prop a good inspection, replaces the aging grease and seals and gives the blades a cleanup and repaint. This will allow the prop to operate safely for another calendar period.

Stockton Propeller is a full-service propeller overhaul and maintenance facility in Northern California with the needed equipment and expertise to perform the needed inspection and service on your propeller. Get inspection and maintenance before a failure happens on your aircraft. Contact us today

Categories
business flight

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.

 

Categories
business flight Uncategorized

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.