Wed, Aug 01, 2012
Propellers For The Light Sport Market, Potential Future Products Discussed
By Anthony Liberatore
Sensenich President Don Rowell held a news conference late during AirVenture to present an update on Sensenich's LSA propellers. The company currently offers propellers for the LSA market in wood, composite and metal construction for Continental, Lycoming, Jabiru, and soon UL Power.
Focusing in on the composite blade system, Rowell demonstrated the process of changing the pitch on a ground adjustable demonstration unit. While Sensenich has two other system that utilize a series of locking pins to determine the propellers pitch, the demonstration units system was quite unique. The system utilizes a removal cartridge mounted in the center of prop hub to determine the propellers pitch. Loosen the 6 hub assembly bolts, replace the cartridge with a propeller pitch cartridge of your choice, for instance a change from 45” to 46” of pitch, and rotate each blade slightly until an audible click and firmness lets you know the blades are locked in their new position. Tighten the loosened bolts, and other than spinner reattachment and you are essentially done. The beauty of the system is that there is no need to measure with protractors or other devices, the cartridge and the system assures accuracy of each blades has the proper pitch.
Rowell said that Sensenich will pursue ASTM compliance for composite bladed propellers designed for the Lycoming 0-320 and 0-360 series of engines. These will experimental only propellers, not LSA. While often viewed as one of the smaller tier propeller manufacturers, Rowell noted Sensenich is truly a high tech operation utilizing Soildworks CAD/CAM, CNC Millers and Routers, and vibratory analysis within the solid model, as well as making their own composite propeller molds in house. Rowell added that their composite blades are of a hollow core design with an integral “I Beam” center spar.
Sensenich has a unique market niche, with 60 percent of their sales in GA, 15 percent from airboats and 25 percent from UAV sales. Rowell noted it is in the airboat arena where Sensenich pushes their innovation envelope. Currently Sensenich is offering a composite propeller of a Scimitar design with metal leading edges that has a “winglet” on the blades tip (pictured, above). Feedback from airboat customers with this propeller note a significant decrease in noise as well as a reduction in fuel consumption, and Rowell noted that sometime in the near future, this blade configuration should make its way to the GA arena.
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