Hartzell Propeller has gained FAA approval to install a new lightweight, swept-tip propeller on the Cessna 172RG Cutlass, the 180-horsepower, retractable-gear, single-engine airplane widely used to teach pilots to fly a complex aircraft.
Piqua, Ohio-based Hartzell said the newly designed, “aggressively shaped Scimitar swept tip” prop should “enhance standard-equipped propeller performance” and reduce noise.
The prop’s time between overhauls of 2,400 hours is a 400-hour improvement over the original propeller’s 2,000-hour TBO.
“This two-blade lightweight prop has better tolerances and corrosion resistance than previously available,” said Hartzell Propeller President Joe Brown in a Feb. 2 news release announcing that the FAA had issued Hartzell a supplemental type certificate for the new “blended airfoil Scimitar technology” propeller. The term blended airfoil refers to the design of the aluminum blades of the propeller to accommodate “different airfoils at different stations,” said Mike Trudeau, manager of Hartzell’s Top Prop modification programs.
Hartzell flew a modified Cessna 172RG Cutlass on loan from the aeronautical studies program of Kent State University in Stow, Ohio, during the process of obtaining the STC.
Joshua Eyring, Kent State University’s manager of aircraft maintenance, said the new propeller would be considered for installation on fleet aircraft “as our needs would dictate,” both for long-run cost savings from the longer TBO intervals, and as a possible solution to “wear issues” that some fleet aircraft have encountered.
“The noise signature is a little better. Keeping the neighbors around any airport happy—that’s important to us,” he said in a telephone interview.
The Kent State University aeronautical studies program’s fleet of 23 single-engine aircraft and two twins is the largest fleet of university-operated aircraft in Ohio, and is based at Kent State University Airport/Andrew Paton Field.
The Cutlass, with its controllable-pitch propeller, retractable landing gear, and flaps, has long been a popular choice of flight schools and fixed-base operations that offer advanced training to single-engine commercial pilot certificate applicants and others who must demonstrate proficiency in a complex aircraft. As an advanced trainer, the Cutlass also provides a comfortable transition for the many pilots who flew Cessna’s fixed-gear singles during primary training.