An aircraft owner who strips the paint off a metal propeller to get a shiny polished propeller may end up with an aircraft that's deemed not airworthy instead. That was the unwanted news one pilot got in a recent call to the AOPA Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA or 800/872-2672).
Federal aviation regulations require that virtually everything on an aircraft, including propellers, be maintained "at least equal to its original or properly altered condition." Stripping paint off of a propeller may alter its corrosion maintenance plan and, therefore, negatively impact its airworthiness according to propeller manufacturers.
AOPA Aviation Technical Specialist Tim Lower said, "We contacted the major propeller manufacturers and determined that a propeller that arrives from the manufacturer with polished metal is fine. Propeller manufacturers consider the paint part of the anticorrosion protection. An owner who strips a painted propeller of its paint is also stripping it of its manufacturer's approved corrosion protection, thereby possibly rendering it not airworthy."
The aviation technical specialists who staff the Pilot Information Center answer over 12,000 questions every month on everything from "How do I find a flight instructor?" to "What do I need to do to buy a plane?" to "How can I save my airport?" They have an encyclopedic knowledge of federal aviation regulations and can offer guidance to pilots who find themselves at odds with the FAA.
Pilots can contact the AOPA Pilot Information Center either by phone (800/USA-AOPA) or e-mail.