Q: How often should I have my propeller looked at?
A: Your mechanic should be looking at your propeller at each inspection. Likewise, you should also look at your propeller during your pre-flight inspection. As for overhaul frequency, each manufacturer has their own specifications which vary depending upon model and usage.
Q: Why do I need to overhaul my propeller?
A: The answer to this question could cover a volume. The reasons are numerous so let’s just look at a few. Your propeller is the hardest working, most stressed, and most important piece of your airplane. It just makes good sense to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for routine overhauls to ensure the airworthiness and integrity of what you are flying behind.
An often overlooked reason to maintain your propeller is your insurance policy. Most aircraft insurance policies require that the aircraft be maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations. Failure to do so could potentially void your policy and any claims made against it.
Q: I only fly my airplane about a hundred hours a year? Do I still need to overhaul my propeller?
A: Most propeller shops will tell you that the most detrimental thing to your propeller is not flight hours, but rather calendar time. Corrosion knows nothing about flight time – it only knows calendar time. The scary thing about this question is this: If you fly 100 hours a year and you are operating a propeller that has a 2400 hour TBO it would take you 24 years to reach that level. The real question is do you want to fly behind a twenty four year old propeller that has never been overhauled? Not me!
Q: Are your technicians trained?
A: Our shop has well over 100 years of combined experience. We also utilize factory training on an annual basis and continually train in house, especially as new procedures and inspections are required. Our entire technical staff is certified level II in penetrant and magnetic particle inspection. We have three level II eddy current inspectors on staff.
Q: Is everything done in-house?
A: Everything is done in-house with a few exceptions. We outsource our cadmium plating to a highly reputable local plating shop. The environmental issues associated with cadmium plating have become too costly to manage on a small scale therefore we have found it to be more cost effective to outsource to someone who specializes in plating and does it on a larger, more cost effective scale. We can proudly say we were the first shop in the world approved by Hartzell Propeller to do this process which is now required on all Hartzell F-knob Y-shank blades at overhaul.
Q: What parts do you replace?
A: We replace all parts that are mandated to be changed by the individual manufacturer’s overhaul manuals. We only replace with new, factory-supplied parts; we do not use any after-market PMA parts. We also replace all de-ice boots and leads with Goodrich and Hartzell de-icing components
Q: Do you have Product Liability Insurance?
A: Yes, we do! The cost of this type of insurance is astronomical; therefore we cannot bear the cost alone. The cost is shared among our customers and is based upon a percentage of the labor charge per work order. This charge is a line item on your invoice so you can know what you are paying for. Some shops lump the cost into the labor charge you pay so that you don’t see it – which is fine, but we prefer to let you know it up front, and it also lets you know we have it. Most shops do not carry this insurance.