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Hartzell Propeller changes hands

Family sells to private equity firm

After nearly four decades of ownership, the Brown family is selling historic Hartzell Propeller Inc. and its related companies to the private equity firm Arcline Investment Management. Industry sources say the deal is expected to close in the next 30 days.

Photo by Chris Rose.

James Brown Jr. bought Hartzell Propeller from Thompson Ramo Wooldridge Inc. in 1987. With roots going back to 1860, the company evolved into the Hartzell Walnut Propeller Co., using walnut wood to create propellers at the encouragement of Orville Wright. Brown’s sons Joe and Jim are the primary operators of Hartzell Aviation and its many subsidiaries..

Among the subsidiaries is Hartzell Engine Tech, which builds a variety of aircraft engine components including turbochargers, starter adapters, starters, alternators, and many others. Meanwhile, the propeller side of the company is going strong, using innovative composite materials and new aerodynamic shapes at its Piqua, Ohio, headquarters.

“Our family has been blessed to be the stewards of Hartzell Aviation for 37 years. As we look to the future, we believe Arcline fully embraces our core value—Built on Honor—and will bring the skills and resources to build on over a century of excellence and innovation,” said James W. Brown III, president of Hartzell Aviation.

In a statement, Arcline noted, “As investors exclusively focused on Critical Suppliers to Critical Industries, Hartzell’s portfolio of flight-critical propeller and engine subsystems for a large and long-lived installed base fits perfectly with Arcline’s strategy. We are excited to partner with the Hartzell team to carry on its legacy generated over the past 100 years and facilitate the company’s next phase of growth.”

According to its website, Arcline owns more than 20 companies, mostly based in the United States, with products varying from aerospace and defense to health and safety, medical technology, energy, and food and beverage.

Thomas B. Haines

Thomas B Haines

Contributor (former Editor in Chief)
Contributor and former AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
Topics: Financial, National Business Aviation Association

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