Industry News

June 2011 Issue

Prop Replacements: Growing Competition

With MT-Propeller coming on strong with dozens of new STCs, Hartzell and McCauley are responding. But composite multi-blades aren’t a slam dunk yet.

Coded into the DNA of every aircraft owner is a grim acceptance that engine overhauls are a fact of life. But prop overhauls and replacements tend to be last-minute, kicking-and-screaming add-ons and with costs up and flight hours down, there are probably more substandard—if not dangerous—props in the field than ever. At least a couple of prop shops we’ve talked to report that the overhaul business is down, suggesting owners are stretching prop TBOs more than they used to. That’s bad. But the good news is that the competition in the new prop market is hotter than ever and getting even hotter, thanks to MT-Propeller’s aggressive push into both the OEM and STC replacement markets. This has forced the established manufacturers, Hartzell and McCauley, to respond in kind, although those two companies don’t agree on where the market will move in terms of materials choices.

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