How to look after your wood propeller…
Peter de Necker has written a highly informative and concise book entitled “The Handling, Care and Maintenance of Wood Propellers”. Besides giving you a very good idea of how to look after your wood prop and the theory behind its operation, it is also extremely entertaining and a good read! It combines the wealth of experience that Peter has gained over the years with sound theoretical explanation.
The book can be purchased from P-Prop, but here is a snippet excised from the humourous chapter entitled “The Ten Commandments of Wooden Prop Care”:
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF WOODEN PROP CARE
1. Thou shalt never force a prop to fit.
2. Thou shalt keep an absolutely tidy and clean prop and engine flange.
3. Thou shalt mate a full size crush plate to thy prop hub.
4. Thou shalt torque the bolts properly.
5. Thou shalt track thy prop to maximum performance.
6. Thou shalt help thy prop do battle against sun, weather and moisture migration.
7. Thou shalt keep thy prop clean.
8. Thou shalt ground thy craft rather than fly with even a slightly damaged propeller.
9. Thou shalt routinely inspect thy prop for signs of dry rot.
10. Thou shalt keep the faith with a damaged prop.
…Just a taste! The book is filled with plenty tips and hints to keep your wood prop operating safely and efficiently. Remember, you get a free copy with every purchase of a P-Prop propeller!
When to send in your propeller for a service.
A wooden propeller normally outlasts a metal propeller as it does not suffer from fatigue, BUT it must be inspected regularly for defects: cracks, scars, nicks, sections broken. Give it quick “pre-flight” before flying.
A wooden propeller should be removed and carefully inspected when you plane goes for its annual.
Some points on what needs to be checked:
a) Elongated bolt holes,
b) Tracking and balance,
c) Cracks on hub and around the bolt holes,
d) Any other defects, cracks, delamination, broken pieces.
If any of the above is noticed, do not put it back on the plane, but either buy a new propeller or send it to the manufacturer for an in depth inspection and a professional opinion, it might still be serviceable.
LASTLY: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REPAIR THE PROPELLER YOURSELF it is not worth your life.