April 23, 2009
By Thomas A. Horne
Hartzell Propeller now offers its supplemental type certificated three-blade, composite-construction “Top Prop” replacement propellers for the Piper PA-46 Matrix and Mirage. The propellers’ carbon fiber-Kevlar blades and their aluminum hubs save 11 pounds, compared to stock propellers, Hartzell says. The propellers are approved for flight into known icing (FIKI) using the company’s electrothermal de-ice system.
The weight reduction permits a seven-gallon increase in fuel capacity in an extreme forward-center of gravity situation, Hartzell says, which can add up to 30 minutes’ more flight time—or 90-nm more range, given an economy cruise power setting and flight at 18,000 feet. Cruise speeds measure nearly two knots more than those published in the pilot’s operating handbooks, Hartzell says, along with reduced cylinder head temperatures and oil temperatures in climb and cruise. List price of the Top Prop is $24,000, which includes de-ice and a polished spinner.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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