The Propeller, That Spinning Disc Attached to the Engine

AMT spoke with propeller experts Michael Mayhill, manager of customer service and support, and Kevin Ryan, technical support representative, both with Hartzell Propeller Inc., and asked them what were the most common questions they received from general...

Q. What can you tell me about dynamic balancing of a propeller?

A. A vibration issue really is a customer or pilot comfort issue. We are in favor of dynamic balancing, as really we see no negatives to it. The smoother the ride, the less equipment damage from vibration, and the happier the customer.

Q. Which propeller should I install and why?

A. These sorts of questions are often asked by technicians on behalf of aircraft owners. Aircraft technicians are a valuable resource for the owners and operators, particularly on the topic of propeller STCs. Usually you need to ask the customer some additional questions, like what are you looking for — less noise, faster cruise, shorter takeoff, operation on floats, etc. The actual STC holder can usually provide valuable technical information. Note that customers frequently want side-by-side propeller performance comparisons, which are only sometimes available. Regardless, as a primary source of advice on propeller options, it’s a good idea for technicians in the field to stay abreast of what propeller choices are out there, and their individual benefits. AMT

Michael Mayhill graduated from Purdue University College of Technology with an AS in aviation management and a BS in aviation technology. He is an A&P and has been in propeller technical support for 23 years, six at Hartzell. Kevin Ryan received a BA from the University of Akron, Akron, OH. He is a licensed FAA propeller repairman and has been a Hartzell product support representative for 14 years. Hartzell Propeller is located in Piqua, OH. For more information visit

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