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Airplane Propeller Repair or Maintenance – Which One Saves More?

When it comes to our airplanes, the most often overlooked item is the propeller. That one overlooked item can lead to a costly airplane propeller repair bill. Don’t wait until your propeller breaks. A good preventative maintenance plan can prevent expensive repairs and help you avoid being stranded at an inconvenient time. Stockton Propeller specializes in propellers, and we’re here to take care of all your propeller maintenance and repair needs.

Experiencing a component failure in flight can cost a pilot much more than just money. That’s why propeller maintenance is an essential part of any aircraft maintenance program. Contact Stockton Propeller now and let us show you how we can protect and care for your plane’s propeller.

Your plane’s propeller blade tips can travel at speeds that exceed 500 miles per hour. Your propeller will endure somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 25 tons of centrifugal force, trying to rip it apart. Propellers are bending and flexing, while at the same time contending with the vibration and power pulses of the engine.

Airplane Propeller Repair or Maintenance

Propellers cost thousands of dollars. It only makes sense that we take care of them. By following a few simple steps regarding your airplane’s propeller preventative maintenance, you can save yourself thousands of dollars in repairs or replacement.

Damage to your propeller can come from sand, rain, or small rocks. These can cause wear, or leave dings that may seem trivial now, but can become a big problem over time. These nicks and dings can lead to areas of stress, allowing cracks or corrosion to occur.

When compounded, all of these factors can cause your propeller to become imbalanced, causing excessive vibration, and aircraft component fatigue. If this scenario occurs, you now have much more than an airplane propeller repair.

Preflight inspection being performed by technician

Propeller Basics

One of the most basic propeller precautions is to never push or pull the plane by the propeller. Propellers are durable by the nature of the design and materials; however, it is never a good idea to put extra torque on the hub.

Putting additional strain on the propeller blades can push them out of alignment or cause them to malfunction. It doesn’t take much to cause damage to the propeller.

One possible result of pushing or pulling on the propeller to move the plane is that the propeller could bend. When a propeller is bent, even slightly, that can cause the propeller to be out-of-track.

When a propeller is out-of-track, it can cause additional stress and vibration to the aircraft, not to mention the engine. A myriad of problems can result from an out-of-track propeller. Under no circumstances should you try to straighten a bent propeller yourself.

Choosing to move your airplane by the propeller can lead to some expensive damage. Don’t risk the integrity of your propeller or cause some unnecessary repair expenses. Use a tow bar whenever you need to move your plane.

If you suspect or discover that you have a bent propeller, we are here for you. Stockton Propeller has the experience, knowledge, and equipment to repair a bent propeller.

Mechanic inspecting airplane engine

Pre-flight Inspection

Routine maintenance of the propeller starts with a visual inspection. Make sure you clear away any rocks or debris in the area around the propeller. An idling propeller can vacuum up almost anything from about 4 to 6 feet in front of it. A visual inspection should be a part of every pre-flight routine.

One of the best tools for detecting anomalies on your propeller is your hands. Look and feel for nicks, dents, and feel the overall smoothness of the propeller’s surface.

Run your fingers gently over the leading edges of every propeller blade. Look for cracks, raw scratches, and dents that are big enough to deform the metal around them. Look for dings that exceed one-thirty second of an inch.

Missing hardware, broken seals, and loose blades or spinners are all cause for concern. You should address these issues before the next flight. Make a note and schedule a repair as soon as possible.

Regularly Clean Propellers

One easily overlooked aspect of propeller maintenance is simply washing your propeller. Propellers pick up an assortment of contaminants. Dead insects, pollutants, and dirt are some of the things that accumulate on a propeller during flight.

It’s simply unavoidable; it’s going to happen. When contaminants of this nature accumulate on the propeller, it can diminish your propeller’s performance.

That’s why you must wash your propeller regularly. You can remove dirt and debris from your propeller with a simple solution of soap and water.

Wash each propeller blade while it is in the down position. Take care to avoid liquids getting into the propeller hub, which could potentially damage the seals.

Maintain Propellers’ Paint Job

You should always paint your propellers as a safety measure to ensure the propeller’s visibility, particularly while they’re in motion. Regular inspection and maintenance of the propellers paint job is critical. Maintain them with periodic touch-ups and repaints.

Technician in Tyvek and respirator painting aircraftPainting your propeller should be part of every airplane’s maintenance schedule. It’s important to remember to avoid any paintwork or a style that could potentially reduce the visibility of the spinning propeller. If you’re not sure when it’s time to repaint, one good way to remember is to have it done at the same time as your propeller’s midlife inspection.

Airplane Propeller Repair or Maintenance – The Answer is Clear

By now it should be obvious that propeller maintenance is not an option. There are many tasks that every owner should perform regularly. Be advised that this is by no means a complete list of maintenance items.

Proper propeller maintenance can and will extend the life of your propeller. Not only is regular maintenance a safety measure, but a cost-saving measure as well.

Some maintenance procedures require a professional shop and equipment to perform the job correctly. Contact Stockton Propeller now to schedule an appointment. Whether it’s preventative maintenance or repair, you can trust your propeller to Stockton Propeller.