AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

The Role of the Propeller in General Aviation Aircraft

Since the debut of commercially available powered aircraft, countless advancements have been made to improve flight. As compared to the original models used in the early days of aviation, many aircraft are now fitted with powerful gas turbine engines that allow them to traverse farther distances, higher altitudes, and so much more. While gas turbine engines have become the standard of the current era, there are still many aircraft models that make use of conventional propeller blade assemblies. 

Often referred to as airscrews, propellers are blades that create the shape of a fan when assembled together, and they are rotated at high speeds to create the propulsion necessary for flight. In order to turn, propeller blades harness energy that is generated by the aircraft engine, utilizing a crankshaft and other components to transform reciprocating motion into rotational motion.

While the exact design and configuration of an aircraft may differ from model to model, a majority of propeller-driven aircraft feature what is known as a reciprocating engine as their powerplant. Also known as piston engines, these internal combustion engines utilize one or more reciprocating pistons that are able to transform produced pressure into rotational motion. Piston engines come in a variety of subtypes, examples including in-line, rotary, V-type, radial, and horizontally opposed engines. Horizontally opposed engines are known for being one of the most simplistic options to take advantage of, their design lacking undue complexity and their maintenance being fairly straightforward. Generally, these engines feature two banks of cylinders that are staggered on each side of a central crankcase.

Regardless of what type of reciprocating engine is used, most operate on the same principle of intaking air, compressing it, mixing it with fuel, and combusting the mixture. This combustion results in a large amount of pressure and force that is then harnessed by the pistons and transferred to the propeller assembly. While reciprocating engines are the most popular option for propellers, turboprop aircraft are also common, those of which are gas turbine engines that utilize their generated power to drive propellers. Nevertheless, these are not found on general aviation aircraft.

Beyond the type of engine that is present on an aircraft, there are also various propeller assemblies that may be used as well. are a common type that is known for having an unchangeable installation angle, meaning that once the propeller is built, the blade angle cannot be changed. These propellers are generally made of aluminum alloy or wood, and they are most efficient when traveling at forward speeds. While simplistic, fixed-pitch propellers are limited in their capabilities and operational ranges. Controllable-pitch propellers are another option, and as their name suggests, they can have their pitch adjusted during flight. As such, their operational capabilities are much more diverse with more control over blade angle. Aside from these examples, other common options include ground-adjustable propellers, constant-speed propellers, and feathering propellers.

Here at After Market Industrials, we are your sourcing solution for any requirements you may have for propeller parts, aircraft components, and other such products. Take the time to explore our online database as you see fit, and you may kickstart the purchasing process at any time through the submission of an RFQ form. With provided information such as your target price and expected shipping timeline, we can best formulate a solution that meets your needs and present it to you within 15 minutes of receiving your request. Get started today and see why so many customers continuously rely on After Market Industrials for all their operational needs.


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