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Thread: 3-blade propellor for an 0-320?

  1. #1
    seagull's Avatar
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    3-blade propellor for an 0-320?

    Hi Gents,

    I intend to power my Piel Diamante with a 160 hp Lycoming 0-320. I'm trying to investigate the pro's and con's of fitting a metal or wood 3-blade fixed pitch prop. I'm not interested in a CSU or otherwise variable pitch prop, just a fixed pitch.

    Has anyone out there fitted one to their 0-320 project? Is there an off-the-shelf prop that would do the job? Or would I have to get one made specially?

    I would welcome any comments.

    Cheers

    Barry

    EAA #144680

    Auckland
    New Zealand

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    Last edited by Hal Bryan; 03-22-2012 at 09:21 AM. Reason: Fixed link.

  3. #3

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    3-blade prop

    As soon as you say "3-blade" you limit yourself to wood or composite props by smaller prop manufacturers. There are no metal fixed 3-blade props made for the O-320 engine that I have ever seen. And I don't believe Sensenich makes a 3-blade wood prop for that engine, although they might be willing to give it a go. That pretty much eliminates off the shelf as an option.

    Catto makes some great composite (fiberglass over wood core) props, and they will custom make one for your particular airplane/engine combination for a fairly reasonable price. Whirlwind may also be able to help you, as can a number of smaller prop makers.

    Dave Prizio

  4. #4
    seagull's Avatar
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    Mastazero - greetings backatcha!

    hmanvel - Thanks for that - I've had a look - very good!

    Dave P - I think you are right, metal would not likely be an option. I'm very impressed with the Catto props and this may be likely the way I go. What I'm looking for is a simple to operate/fly 2-seat touring aircraft. The Diamante is a 2+2 seat (or 2+1 if the passenger in the back is an adult size). I intend building mine as a 2-seater with ample baggage capacity. The published power option range for this design is between 100-180 hp, so a 160hp 0-320 would be a good mid-range fit, and from my experience is a pretty trouble-free all-round reliable engine. I'm looking for a respectable cruise/take-off performance compromise as I intend operating from some short-ish grass strips, but do not wish to incur a weight penalty from fitting a CSU. A CSU is also something else to check, maintain and possibly go wrong so a fixed pitch falls right in line with the 'KISS' principle that guides me - e.g. fixed gear instead of retractable, etc. I feel the 3-blade would give me better figures than a 2-blade for the same power. Also looks nicer.

    Thank you for your comments,

    Cheers

    Barry Gillingwater

  5. #5
    Jim Hann's Avatar
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    Barry,

    First, another vote for Catto, I know both pushers and pullers using his three blades, all have good words to say about Craig and his props.

    Second, are you on the Emerauders list on Yahoo? Contrary to the name, it is open to any Piel designs. Give it a look!

    http://asia.groups.yahoo.com/group/Emerauders/
    Jim Hann
    EAA 276294 Lifetime
    Vintage 722607
    1957 Piper PA-22/20 "Super Pacer"
    Chapter 32 member www.eaa32.org
    www.mykitlog.com/LinerDrivr
    Fly Baby/Hevle Classic Tandem


  6. #6
    seagull's Avatar
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    Hi Jim,

    I think you're right. the more I read about Catto props the more impressed I am. I'm pretty sure he's going to get my business.

    Yes, I'm already on both the 'Emerauders' and the French Piel Avions site too.

    Cheers

    Barry

  7. #7

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    Just a side note to prop material-
    Should you operate in an environment where a prop strike might happen, a wood prop will shatter upon contact and limits the energy transmitted back into engine. It's like a fuse.
    A metal or even a composite prop under same contact conditions will transmit more energy and has higher likelihood of producing engine damage.

  8. #8
    seagull's Avatar
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    Hi Bob,

    Yes thanks, I'm aware of that. A couple of guys I know have got wooden props on their warbirds for that reason. It would probably cost them more than my house is worth if they had to tear down or replace a Merlin! The reported handling characteristics of the Diamante or Emeraude series are pretty docile with little or no tendency for nosing over (although you never know with the right wind conditions). All I can do is go with the wood/composite prop and do my best to keep all three wheels on the ground when taxiing and try not to bump into things too often.

    Thanks for the advice,

    Barry

  9. #9

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    Hi Barry, I have been using a Warp Drive 4 blade ground adjustable prop for about 120 hours now, and I am quite pleased with it so far. I have it mounted on a Lycoming O-360 180 hp powering a Steen Skybolt. This combination is working well for y needs. Bill R. I hope this helps.

  10. #10

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    You say "better figures" for the 3 blade prop vs 2 blade. Not necessarily so. I don't have much experience with plane of that size and power and speed range, but at least for those more like a Mooney, the 2 blade prop is usually faster than the 3 blade one. Climb is about the same, may even be a little better for the 3 blade. With only 160 hp you don't need more blades to handle the power, but you may for ground clearance.

    Looks are of course a personal taste, but to me if you can get a true 2 blade wooden prop with the grain showing like a Sensenich one on a Cub or a Stearman, it sure beats those fiberglass ones.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 03-22-2012 at 08:04 PM.

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