Pat Hatch's PhotoJournal A blog about photography & other musings…


New Blended Airfoil Propeller

Had to go up today and clear my head.  Actually, clear the vuvuzelas that had been buzzing in my head.

But mainly to fly off the 5 hour test flight period assigned by the FAA for my new prop.  Why the new prop, I hear you ask?  Several reasons.  My original Hartzell prop was due its 6-year calendar inspection, so it all started with a simple inquiry as to the cost of this inspection.  In the meantime, I had been following the development of the new "blended airfoil" propeller that I think was developed with Van's aircraft in mind and was being tuned to the RV's performance envelope.  Van's was claiming an additional 3 knots true airspeed over the older model.  Additionally, Hartzell has now pretty much eliminated all of the RPM restrictions that had plagued the older prop.  Because of the unknown vibrational characteristics caused by the most common upgrades to our engines, e.g., electronic ignitions and higher compression pistons, Hartzell had issued a bulletin cautioning operation within certain RPM ranges, which really had been a nuisance.  So when I immediately found a buyer for my old prop and realized that the net cost was going to be just over a thousand dollars, well, hell, let's go for it.  No inspection required, no more RPM limitations, 3 knots more speed, and a pretty nice looking, high-tech prop to boot.  It made perfect sense to me.  Here's the new prop:

New Hartzell Blended Airfoil Prop

Flying around in circles can get pretty boring, so I took the camera and tripod along with me today to pass the time. I also have been testing an iPad and the Foreflight app as a possible replacement for most of the charts and other pubs required for IFR flight. And I took advantage of the time to practice some holding pattern entries at altitude, and on the autopilot, but, hey, it all counts towards IFR currency requirements.

Well, I haven't had much time lately for taking photos so I was glad I was able to shake off some of the cobwebs and get a few wide angle shots from the baggage compartment of my RV-6.

First thing I noticed was that my Koger sun shade was going to interfere with the lens' field of view, so I decided to slide it off the track and stow it.

Number 2 for takeoff behind a FlightSafety trainer.

I climbed up to 7,500 feet and checked out the prop, of course, but I also had a chance to observe the new GPS mode in the ForeFlight app on the iPad. So now you get enhanced geo-referencing, centers your chart on your position, posts relevant GPS data, and your course line is superimposed over the chart. Pretty cool. In a future post I will critique the iPad as an EFB and also the new RAM mount that I am expecting any day now. I'm currently using a special knee board for the iPad, but I think the RAM mount is going to be much better. You can see the RAM mount structure on the right side of the instrument panel where I had previously used it for my iPAQ PDA. This will adapt to the new iPad RAM mount. My hope is that the iPad is going to replace about 90% of the paper required to be on board.

Flying in a holding pattern at 7,500 feet.

I was also trying out a new shutter release cable seen here in my right hand, which is much more reliable than the wireless one I had been using. Yep, this is going to be just the ticket for inflight photography for sure. The wireless release had been intermittent, possibly being interfered with by the on board avionics.

Here we go down the beach on the way back home. Nice day today on the east coast of Florida.

And one more going down the beach:

I never get tired of this view!