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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

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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.

 

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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.

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business

Fixed Pitch and Other Propeller Types

When you first begin training to become a pilot, the amount of technical information and jargon can become overwhelming. You need to learn the principles affecting lift, the variety of regulations governing what altitudes you can fly at, and you need to get the answer to questions like where to go for fixed pitch propeller repair and other necessary maintenance.

While the amount of information may seem daunting at first, once the basic principles are understood, you can apply them to different types of aircraft and different types of flight.

One vital factor in deciding what sort of certification to gain is knowing what kind of plane you wish to fly using what type of propeller. There are several factors to be considered, including:

  • Will you be flying a single or multiple-engine aircraft?
  • Is there likely to be bad weather where you will be flying?
  • What is your budget?
  • How much automation do you want to have vs. hands-on control during all aspects of flight?

All of the above questions influence the choice of propeller to look for on your aircraft. The propeller impacts all areas of flight.

Pilots may choose to have the most state of the art propeller, which helps to automate more of the flying experience, or they may want to have more control for a more classic flying experience.

Read on to learn more about the different types of propellers available and which type is best suited for every kind of flying conditions. Contact Stockton Propeller for all your propeller repair and maintenance needs.

Fixed Pitch Propellers

A fixed pitch is the simplest type of propeller. It is linked mechanically to the engine, and many of the simpler, light aircraft use it. This simplicity makes these planes easier to fly in some sense as engine speed is directly linked to propeller speed.

Some limitations may apply to the use of this propeller.

The propeller’s angle is set in one position and remains in that position for the entire flight. This fixed position means that the propeller angle is the best estimate and compromise of positions for takeoff, landing, and flight. At times, however, this results in the engine not running at its most efficient.

closeup of a worn propeller on an old airplane

Fixed Pitch Propeller Repair

Fixed pitch propellers can run into occasional problems. One of those is vibration, which can take a toll not only on the aircraft but upon the passengers riding in the plane. This vibration can cause excessive noise as well as resulting in needed maintenance or repair.

If you need fixed pitch propeller repair, Stockton Propeller is a full-service facility in Northern California. We have the skills to maintain and repair a wide range of propeller brands. We also have experts in blade reconditioning and can ensure that your propeller is running at its best.

Variable Pitch Propellers

Unlike their fixed-pitch counterparts, variable pitch propellers can alter the propeller’s angle to suit the different flying situations. Varying the propeller’s angle means that the propeller is in the best position for takeoff, flight, or landing, as is needed.

One of the useful features of most variable pitch propellers is that they can use feathering in case of an emergency. When feathering is in use, the propellers turn parallel to the way the air is flowing. The turning stops the rotation of the propellers.

When a variable pitch propeller uses feathering, the goal is to add to the distance the plane can fly. In single-engine planes in an emergency where that engine has shut down, this may increase gliding distance. In a plane where one of several engines has shut down, this will decrease the effect of drag on the propeller and allow the other engines to take over more completely.

One of the simplest forms of variable pitch propeller is a two-speed version where there is one setting for takeoff and one for cruising. A more complex design is the “constant speed unit,” which works by self-governing the pitch angle rather than selection by the pilot.

close up of silver small plane propeller

Constant Speed Propellers

An improvement on the variable pitch propeller’s constant speed unit is the constant speed propeller. This innovation works to maximize the effectiveness of the engine. It functions to keep the engine at a continuous speed no matter what combination of factors is in play.

The pitch of the propeller adjusts according to the engine’s speed. When taking off or flying, the engine adjusts to meet the needs of the aircraft to maintain the required lift and thrust. The pilot can set a particular speed of engine rotation, and the governor acts to control the propeller’s pitch to preserve this instruction.

Reverse Pitch Propellers

Some variable pitch propellers are so advanced that they use what is known as negative blade pitch, or reverse thrust. These propellers can change their angle so that they can slow down the aircraft.

Changing the propellers’ angle to reverse the thrust is particularly important when landing on runways that are short or experiencing bad weather conditions, such as rain or ice.

The reverse pitch of the propellers, in effect, pushes against the forward momentum of the plane to shorten the length of taxiing. Some propellers can allow the plane to back up, like floatplanes on water.

Pilot leaning out towards the back of a small prop plane giving a thumbs up sign

Propeller Maintenance and Repair

Care of your plane’s components before any issues arise is vital to you and your passengers’ safety. Proper maintenance of all parts of your plane is crucial to its long term safety and longevity.

The propeller is no exception. Regardless of propeller type, maintenance should be performed on a regular basis, and some procedures require a professional shop to complete those tasks.

Stockton Propeller is a full-service propeller overhaul and maintenance facility with the required equipment and expertise to perform

  • both static and dynamic balancing,
  • metal repair and refinishing,
  • NDT testing, and
  • on-site etch and alodine surface prep.

Contact Stockton Propeller today to schedule an appointment, request a free quote, or discuss your specific propeller needs.

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business

What License Do you Need to Fly a Twin Blade Propeller Plane?

There are many questions to be answered when a pilot first begins to look at the training and certification process. Among those are the questions like where to take classes, what sort of license is needed for the pilot’s goals, and what sort of equipment they want to fly. For example, what kind of license would you need to fly a twin-blade propeller plane?

It may seem overwhelming to try to wade through all of the information available and all of the different options to pursue to become a certified pilot. Aspiring pilots need to learn the variety of available licenses and make the best judgment of what will best suit them while considering factors such as:

  • Investment of time
  • Cost of training
  • Availability of training in their area
  • Personal goals they wish to accomplish
  • Type of plane they would use or purchase

Aside from the initial cost of purchasing a plane, pilots should also bear in mind the relative costs of maintaining that airplane. Stockton Propeller, a full-service propeller overhaul and maintenance facility serving Northern California, can help you with your propeller repair, no matter what kind of plane you end up flying.

Types of Certifications

One of the first questions a trainee pilot must answer is what type of certifications are available for them to pursue? All beginning pilots begin their path to licensure as “Student Pilots.”After achieving this status and meeting other requirements, it is up to them to decide what they would like to pursue after this step. They may choose:

  • Private Pilot Certificate
  • Recreational Pilot Certificate
  • Sport Pilot Certificate

The distinction between these certifications may seem confusing at first, but pilots need to consider a few fundamental differences. Pilots should also bear in mind that if they achieve one level of certification, they can always continue on and gain additional certification if they want additional flexibility of the type of craft they want to fly, how high they would like to fly, or if they would like payment for their flying.

Pilot entering the cabin of a private plane with another pilot and the cockpit in the background

Private

This certification is the most popular of the three options. While it does involve additional hours of training as it takes 40 hours to achieve, it offers the greatest level of flexibility in what a pilot can do after gaining their license. This license may give students the greatest return on the investment of their time and money into training. The Private Pilot License will allow pilots to pursue further training that can lead to becoming a commercial pilot or even a flight instructor.

After finishing training, this license will allow pilots to pursue additional training to receive their Instrument and Commercial Pilot certifications. A multi-engine certification will let pilots fly twin-propeller planes that require special training in what to do if one of the engines breaks down.  The Commercial accreditation will also allow pilots to be paid for their flying, giving compensation for their time and expense of training.

Father and son in the cockpit of a small plane flying

Recreational

The Recreational Pilot License is considered a step down from the Private Pilot License. There are more restrictions placed on the pilot, in particular, no flying professionally.

A Recreational License prohibits pilots from flying aircraft with more than 180 horsepower.

This certification may appeal to some due to the lower level of required time in flight training at 30 hours. Less time required also requires a lower monetary investment.

One restriction placed on this license is that the pilot may only fly lower than 2000 feet AGL (above ground level) and that the aircraft flown by the pilot is not certified for more than four occupants.

The restrictions placed on this license may not be an issue for many pilots that choose this option. However, a pilot may later decide to continue their training and earn greater freedoms given by a Private Pilot certification.

Pilot with headphones sitting in an open air cockpit of small plane

Sport

What if you only want to fly smaller lighter craft? In 2004 the Sport License was created by the FAA in response to the growing trend of flying these innovative crafts. Pilots with this certification have greater restrictions on what sort of aircraft they can fly.

Pilots who want to fly planes with only themselves and perhaps one passenger on board should look into this license.

These planes are considered easier to fly, and the certification takes less training and less expenditure to achieve. Only 20 hours of flight training are required. This may appeal to pilots whose only goal is flying this sort of craft, as some of the additional training requirements do not apply.

Additionally, pilots who work toward this certification do not need to have a medical certificate as they would with other licenses. These lesser requirements may make this appealing to some flyers.

If pilots pursue this certification but then decide they would like to fly a greater variety of aircraft, they may continue their studies to earn one of the other certifications.

When To Seek Qualified Help and Repairs For Your Twin Blade Propeller Plane

As they continue the process of deciding which license to pursue, pilots need to consider many factors. One of those is what expenses they will incur when it comes to purchasing or renting a plane, as well as what associated costs are likely to be met with when repairs are needed.

It is important for pilots to thoughtfully consider where to have each aspect of their planes maintained and repaired. Because their very lives depend on the results of this maintenance, the choice of maintenance facility is a vital one.

Stockton Propeller is a full-service propeller overhaul and maintenance facility providing service to individuals, FBOs, and air carriers. So, no matter what type of pilot certification you have, we can assist with your governor and propeller repair and maintenance needs.

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business

What is the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)?

Every enthusiast group has its crowning organization, their keeper of the flame. For aviation enthusiasts, our keeper of the flame is the Experimental Aircraft Association, also known as the EAA.

The EAA is more than just an enthusiast group for experimental aircraft. It is a cornerstone in our community that serves everyone from the recreational pilot to the propeller shop with a stellar aviation blog you love reading.

The EAA has branches dedicated to antiques, aeronautics, warbirds, homebuilt projects, research, and more. The EAA will happily accept membership from anyone interested in aviation. The EAA is integral to aviation, so we need to ask what is the EAA, and why does it matter to you?

We are here to make sure that you will be ready to go for the next EAA event, be it a local Northern California air show or flying out to Oshkosh for their annual Fly-In. For any propeller related needs, Contact Stockton Propeller today.

Two young girls behinda safety tape on a tarmac at an airshow with a propeller plane in the background

The EAA and its Events

If you’re not a member of the EAA, you have probably experienced one of its air shows. EAA chapters around the country have been regularly scheduling airshows since its founding.

Today over 200,000 members across nearly 900 chapters in the United States can be seen piloting their aircraft for millions of spectators almost every weekend of the year. Tour flights are also available from several restored vintage aircraft including, a Ford Tri-Motor, B-17 Flying Fortress, and a B-25 Mitchell.

Since its founding, the EAA has hosted a yearly Fly-In Convention with the first convention being held months after its founding in 1953 at Curtiss-Wright airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

By 1959, the EAA’s annual Fly-In Convention had already outgrown its original convention site. A new location was found in Rockford, Illinois, until 1969 when it outgrew its second venue, and finally arrived at its current home in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Washington DC Capitol dome detail with waving american flag

Research and Legislation

When a group of aviation enthusiasts gets together in a room, it doesn’t take long to begin exchanging ideas. The EAA is the largest association of aviation enthusiasts, and research has gone hand-in-hand since its inception.

In 1971, the EAA Aviation Foundation made the first of its pivotal aeronautical research expeditions testing unleaded automotive fuel in airplanes. Since then, the EAA has worked with the FAA on the behest of aviation enthusiasts across the nation.

Some of their other research and legislation highlights include:

  • The creation of a Recreational Pilot Certificate
  • Alternative fuel research with the Florida Institute of Technology
  • Reform of third-class medical certifications.

From addressing the shortage of air-worthiness inspectors to getting the Hoover Bill passed, the EAA has been working with our government to help keep aviation accessible.

The EAA is one of the most essential lobbying organizations on capitol hill for recreational aviation enthusiasts in the United States, benefiting everyone from the local propeller shop to the ultralight enthusiast tinkering away in their hangar.

Preservation and Fostering the flame

Since the EAA’s founding, the preservation of aircraft has been one of their central tenants. Since its founding in 1962, the EAA Air Museum Foundation has grown into the world’s most extensive private collection of vintage aircraft.

The museum is not just a footnote to the EAA, when they had their first expansion to their headquarters, a museum extension and restoration hangar were at the top of the list.

Since then, they have created a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis, which visited 210 cities on the 50th anniversary of Lindbergh’s famous flight.

In 2003, the EAA also successfully recreated a faithful replica of the Wright Brother’s flyer that took flight on December 17th, 2003, 100 years to the day of their first flight.

The EAA plays a pivotal role in fostering aviation enthusiasm between free flights for kids and their Young Eagles program. Camps and scholarships are also offered to kids and teens to help usher in the next generation of aviation enthusiasts.

Flight academies are available with free introductory flights for adults who may be interested in flying themselves. The EAA knows that the youth is the future of our passion, and they are willing to do what it takes to make sure everyone who wants to get involved can get involved.

ultralight aircraft taking off against a blue sky

It is all about Recreational Aircraft

The EAA was initially founded in January of 1953 by Paul Poberezny from a rag-tag group of aviation enthusiasts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The EAA quickly became the nation’s foremost aviation enthusiast group. Their award-winning magazine has been in print for members since 1958, and in recent years, they’ve added a podcast and an internet forum dedicated to recreational aircraft.

Aircraft building has always been an integral part of the backbone of the EAA, and a treasure trove of resources is available for the homebuilt aircraft community. Over 23 pages of plans for homebuilt aircraft are publically accessible on the EAA’s website. EAA members get access to a free version of Solidworks, which is available for computer-aided design when creating their designs. Hands-on assistance is available as well through workshops, volunteer service, and how-to tutorials.

For those that are more advanced in aeronautics, the EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize is available. It is awarded to EAA members who find ways to reduce the chance of in-flight loss of control incidents. This prize has created real-world safety advancements that save lives and make aviation easier for the beginner pilot.

Your local propeller shop is here to make sure you can reap the benefits of the EAA

Today the EAA Fly-In Convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, draws an attendance of 642,000 people from 93 nations! Although this is halfway across the country from Northern California, those with their own aircraft can easily make the trip, and Stockton Propeller is here to make sure you will be there.

We are here for your restoration, homebuilt project, or any other propeller-driven craft. Contact us today for your propeller related needs, and we will make sure you’re ready for your next adventure.

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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.

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Best Aircraft Propeller Manufacturers

When it comes to picking the perfect propeller, it is ok to be a perfectionist! The propeller is an essential element of any aircraft, with a range of options available to choose from. It is also imperative that you keep your propellers in the best possible form, which will require ongoing maintenance and work to keep them in tip-top condition, and ready for any adventure.

Contact us today at Stockton Propeller Inc, where we have the skills you need for all your propeller needs. From propeller overhaul and reconditioning to servicing, ongoing maintenance to total replacement – no matter your problem, we have the tools to help.

Our experienced team can offer assistance at every stage of your propeller’s life. Keep them looking and working their best with regular complete inspections to catch any problems early on.

We recommend doing a calendar inspection/reseal that includes blade dressing, repainting and rebalancing. We can even pick up and deliver your propeller, in the Northern California area, for your ultimate convenience!

Aircraft mechanic working on an engineWe carry out all of our work on-site, and our experienced technicians are highly trained and qualified in all areas of propeller overhaul, maintenance, repair, and modifications. We also all hold an authentic passion for aviation, which can be seen in our close attention to detail in every job.

We offer our services to FBOs, air carriers, flight schools and individuals and work with the following OEM’s:

  • Hamilton Standard
  • Hartzell
  • McCauley
  • MT
  • Raytheon
  • Sensenich
  • Woodward

As experts in the propeller world, we know a thing or two about the top manufacturers and make a point of only working with the best of the best. To help you make your decision, here is everything you need to know about our most popular propellers and manufacturers.

Cancelled stamp with Neil Armstrong taking the 1st step on the moonHamilton Standard

Although now part of Collins Aerospace, Hamilton Standard started life back in 1929, as the result of a consolidation between Transport Corporation and United Aircraft. The two companies combined Standard Steel Propeller with Hamilton Aero Manufacturing, to form what was, at the time, the largest manufacturer of aircraft propellers in the world.

The brand has a strong history of innovation, having developed its first environmental control system in 1958, followed by the delivery of automatic electronic systems to control the cabin pressure of aircraft. Their real-time to shine arrived during the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing, which featured fuel cells, life support and environmental control systems all manufactured by Hamilton Standard.

In 2012, Hamilton Standard merged with Goodrich Corporation to create UTC Aerospace Systems, and in 2018, merged again with Rockwell Collins to form Collins Aerospace. They continue to provide components and propellers to Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier, and Airbus.

Hartzell

Founded in 1917 by Robert Hartzell, and initially known as the Hartzell Walnut Propeller Company, headquartered in Ohio. They specialized in creating aluminum and composite propellers for homebuilt, certified, and ultralight aircraft and continue to this day.

The manufacturer started after Hartzell received a suggestion to create a propeller for his plane using walnut trees. The concept took off and started providing Liberty aircraft propellers for WWI planes shortly after that. Their progress continued steadily; in 1926, the brand created propellers for Aeronca C-2 and contributed to the war effort in WW2 by creating metal propellers for Hamilton Standard. They also produced the very first composite propellers for the Republic RC-3 Seabee and moved onto aluminum propellers in 1948.

The company continued to go from strength to strength and was awarded the first certification for an Advanced Structural Composite propeller by the FAA in 2006.

McCauley

McCauley Propeller Systems was created in 1938 by Earnest G McCauley and initially located in Ohio. Nowadays, the company headquarters are in Wichita, Kansas, with Textron Aviation as the owners. They are noted for the invention of the solid-steel, ground-adjustable propeller in 1941, as well as the forged aluminum propeller in 1946.

MT

Originating in Germany, MT-Propeller was founded by Gerd Muehlbauer in 1980, and remains a leading manufacturer of composite propellers, servicing single and twin-engine aircraft, as well as wind tunnels and airships.

Raytheon

Starting life as Hawker Beechcraft, Raytheon has a long and turbulent history as a company pulled from the brink of bankruptcy on more than one occasion. Despite the behind-the-scenes drama, they have worked steadily to establish a strong name within the industry, and have both the Beechcraft Baron and the Beechcraft Bonanza within their list of accomplishments.

Ultralight Airplane with green grass and trees in background

Sensenich

Sensenich Propeller was founded in America in 1932, formerly trading as Sensenich Brothers. Based in Pennsylvania, they create metal, wood, and composite propellers for aircraft and airboats, and work with ultralight, certified and homebuilt aircraft, as well as airboats.

Woodward

When it comes to history, Woodward is pretty formidable. They hold the status as the world’s oldest, largest independent designer, manufacturer, and service provider for not only propellers but control systems and their components. They started creating controls for water wheels, moving into aircraft propellers in the 1930s. Since then, they have continued to grow, expand, and develop, earning a sterling reputation for excellence and quality.

Leave It To The Pros!

If you need your carbon fiber Hartzell or MT propellers repaired and overhauled, or your Sensenich propeller fine-tuned, call us at Stockton Propeller Inc. We pride ourselves on only working with the very best manufacturers to ensure you’re flying with top quality every time. Get in touch for a free quote today, and rest assured that your propeller needs are in the hands of the experts!

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A Beginner’s Guide to Propeller Terminology

Remember back to school days when you had vocabulary tests? Most students cringed at all those words where you had to memorize the spelling and definition. Quick: what is the definition of a variable pitch propeller?

All joking aside, in the flying world, it is essential to have a basic understanding of the terminology used in the industry.

At Stockton Propeller, we have a passion for flying and everything that makes it happen. Call us if you have any governor, or metal and composite propeller, overhaul or maintenance needs.

Why learn terminology?

While it might seem somewhat elementary, understanding the basic terminology is essential to understanding the field. When you interact with other pilots or artisans in the aviation world, it is critical everyone is using the same language.

However, one of the best reasons to learn basic terminology is the ease of business. Imagine taking your machine to a mechanic and finding out you speak different languages! It can feel similar to that when both parties don’t adhere to the same definitions.

When you need maintenance or repairs, it is much more convenient when you understand everything the mechanic is talking about, and you can clearly describe the issues or problems you have noticed.

If you need another reason, how about the joy of learning new things? A lifelong student is always learning up to date and helpful information. You never know when you will learn something that will be important down the road.

Now, on to defining some terms and learning a little more about them.

Propeller terminology word cloud
Propeller word cloud

Major propeller components

Hub: The main housing that attaches to the engine output shaft and holds the blades and pitch change mechanism together.

Blade: Two to seven blades are held in place by the hub, which connects to the engine through an output or crankshaft.

Pitch Change Mechanism: The assembly that converts hydraulic energy to mechanical motion to rotate the blades.

Feathering springs: Continually push blades toward a high pitch.

Counterweights: Also move the blades toward a high pitch or feather angle when there is a loss of oil pressure.

Spinner: The spinner dome is positioned over the propeller hub and creates an aerodynamic cover that assists in engine cooling and streamlining the airplane.

Spinner Bulkhead: This component connects the spinner to the rest of the propeller assembly protecting the pitch change mechanism and hub.

Other terminology

Governor: Oil pump with flyweights that controls the engine speed or RPM by changing the blade pitch.

Propeller Pitch: The propeller blade pitch is the angle the blade presents to the rotation of the propeller.

Fixed pitch propeller: The angle of this propeller is set at installation and cannot be changed while the aircraft is in flight. It is a compromise of best take-off and cruise performance.

Variable pitch propeller: The pilot can adjust the angle of a variable pitch propeller during flight to optimize the efficiency for take-off, climbing, and cruising.

Constant speed propeller: Like a variable pitch propeller, the blade angle of this propeller can be adjusted during flight. However, this propeller automatically adjusts its design pitch to maintain revolutions per minute (RPM).

Propeller control systems: There are two main kinds of control systems you should be aware of: single-acting systems and double-acting systems.

Single-acting systems utilize oil pressure to change the blade pitch in one direction and aerodynamic forces and a spring, or blade counterweights and a spring, in the opposite direction..

Double-acting systems utilize oil pressure to change the blade pitch in both directions.

Orange Green and Red engine with propellersA few more key terms

Flat pitch: The blade angle with minimum torque, usually around 0 degrees. The blades are flat, facing the direction of travel. If an angle is below 0 degrees, the pitch is considered reverse.

Reverse thrust: The pitch angle can be changed to the point of producing reverse thrust. This helps stop an airplane upon landing, or backing it up as needed. This is very helpful on seaplanes for backing away from the dock.

Coarse or high pitch: The maximum in-flight pitch available for reducing rpm and gaining cruise speed.

Feather: The angle that results in slow or no rotation when the engine is not running. This angle is just under 90 degrees and used to reduce drag on a “dead” engine on a multi-engine airplane to allow the plane to be more controllable.

Blade Twist: For the propeller to achieve optimum aerodynamic performance, blades need to be twisted at specific angles. To understand this angle best, you need to consider both the plane’s forward speed, which is constant, and the propeller’s rotational speed, which increases as you move from the root of the blade to the tip.

The blade twist creates this disparity of speed along the propeller, which will get you the maximum amount of lift along the blade.

Thrust: Thrust is the force that moves the craft. Propellers create this thrust similar to how wings produce lift. As evidence, propellers somewhat resemble wings. Air flows over the wing, forming a pressure differential, creating lift.

In the case of the propeller, air flows over the blade at an angle that causes a similar pressure change, producing lift. This created lift in the propeller makes the airplane move forward instead of vertically.

Vintage Airplane with close up on propeller

Partner With Stockton Propeller Today

While this is a simplified list and only enough to get you started, you now have a basic understanding of terms that will help you going forward. When you need to speak to a real propeller terminology expert, contact Stockton Propeller.

We have experts in blade overhaul and reconditioning, as well as experts that can repair damaged blades to specification, or modify experimental blades to achieve an extra percentage of performance.

Whether you are flying with something as simple as a fixed-pitch metallic propeller, trying to keep your warbird flying, or fine-tune your experimental aircraft, contact us for a free quote on your repair or maintenance needs today.