Common Propeller Types for Aircraft

While serving as a technology that has long benefited flight since the early days of aviation, aircraft propellers are robust structures that are still found on countless aircraft models for propulsion generation. Many aircraft propeller system types have come about over the years as well, each of which feature various differences in their design and functionality. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of the most common propeller hardware types so that you may be aware of their various advantages, disadvantages, and uses.

Fixed-Pitch Propellers

Propeller engine aircraft with a fixed-pitch system will feature a set blade angle or pitch that is unchangeable after manufacturing. Such propeller blades will often be a one-piece structure that is produced from aluminum alloy or wood. With their specific design, fixed-pitch aircraft propellers are optimal for forward speeds, featuring great efficiency when they are paired with fitting engines. Despite this, they can quickly cause a decrease in propeller and engine efficiency if optimal speeds are lost. Generally, such propeller hardware is most often used on aircraft that are of low speed, power, altitude, or range. 

Ground-Adjustable Propellers

While fixed-pitch aircraft propellers are unchangeable, ground-adjustable propellers may be managed while the assembly is not turning. By loosening a clamping mechanism that secures all blades in place, one may change the angle or pitch of the assembly for any reason. While this can be useful in some instances, the lack of variability during flight has made such propeller engine types obsolete.

Controllable-Pitch Propellers

Controllable-pitch propellers remedied the issue of their predecessors, enabling a means of changing pitch and angle while the engine was operating. This ensured that pilots could adjust propeller angles mid-flight, accommodating for changing conditions as required. Nevertheless, such propeller hardware was limited in the amount of positions available, and all adjustments required manual inputs and changes. 

Constant-Speed Propellers

Constant-speed propellers followed controllable-pitch types, featuring the ability to speed up and slow down during dives and climbs to compensate for engine load changes. To maintain the most efficient operations, such hardware takes advantage of a propeller governor which can detect engine speed changes so that the propeller blade angle may be adjusted to always hold a set RPM regardless of operational conditions. As adjustments are made automatically, the pilot does not have to manage propeller pitch during flight operations at all. 

Feathering Propellers 

Feathering propellers are a type often seen on multi-engine aircraft, allowing for propeller drag to be extremely mitigated in the case of a propeller engine failure. With feathering capabilities, such propellers can adjust their angle upwards of 90 degrees, typically being used when the engine is unable to meet the power needed to turn the propeller. As propeller blades begin to slow down while the engine is turned off, present latches lock the assembly in a low blade angle. To prevent locking during standard flight, the latches will raise from their seats due to centrifugal force.

Reverse-Pitch Propellers

Reverse-pitch propellers are the final common aircraft propeller system, and such equipment are controllable propellers that may be adjusted to a negative value. This makes it so that thrust is generated in the opposite direction, typically being used to slow the aircraft when it has safely touched down on a runway. Reducing ground roll and increasing stopping power, reverse-pitch propellers also serve to minimize the wear to brake pads as well.

While some propeller types have since become obsolete with their lack of angle and pitch adjustment, a grand number of aircraft still rely on various propeller systems for carrying out powered flight. NSN Purchasing is an online distributor of aircraft, and we are your sourcing solution for top quality propeller pump parts, propeller shaft components, and other items related to the aircraft propeller system. If you are ready to begin the purchasing process, give our team members a call or email at any time and they would be more than happy to assist you as needed. 


Recent Twitter Posts

Why Choose Us?

Low Price Warrantied inventory at competitive prices

Find it fast Search the world's largest inventory of electronic components by manufacturer, category or part number

Quality guaranteed We sell only warrantied and traceable parts

Get it fast All inventory ready to ship from our sellers

Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships
Thank You for Visiting NSN Purchasing!

Before You Go, Please Take a Look at NSN Parts Catalog!

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.