One of the bugaboos of operating most seaplanes is that once the engine is running, the seaplane is moving forward. To stop moving, you have to either shut the engine off or hit something—neither of which may be desirable. Maneuvering a seaplane in tight quarters, especially when there is a wind blowing or current flowing, can be challenging at the least and expensive if things get out of hand.
Being able to shift the prop into reverse makes a huge difference in the pilot’s ability to maneuver a seaplane—yet while common on turboprops, other than the less-than-reliable system on the original Republic Seabees, few piston-powered seaplanes have reversible propellers.
That was the case until recently. There is now an STC for reversible MT propellers for an increasing number of seaplanes. Beginning with the Aviat Husky and Piper Super Cub on floats and the Lake Amphibian, seaplane operators can now buy and install reversible propellers.
Peter Marshall of MT-Propellers USA, said that STCs for the Cessna 180, 182 and 185 on floats are expected soon.
The reversible MT propeller has a single-piece aluminum hub that is corrosion protected and can be painted. The spinner dome is a single-piece unit made of fiber-reinforced Kevlar that is advertised as crack resistant and can is available with a chrome finish.
According to MT’s Marshall, there are a number of safety devices and warnings to prevent the prop from reversing in flight.