Which props works better for trike ?

Published by: Henry Trikelife on 25th Apr 2011 | View all blogs by Henry Trikelife
I have been having low RPM (especially around idle speed at 2200 RPM) engine vibration problem on my Airborne 582-XT. I have done a few things to try to eliminate the issue, which include curb balancing, air mixture adjustment, increasing idle RPM and installation of “Balance Master”. The result was not good enough, there isn't obvious improvement. At later day, my friend James, Rotax mechanics came out the idea that testing it with other kind of props. We installed and tested with the Powerfin props that came from right sport airplane. Wow, what a difference !! It runs much quieter, much smoother, less vibration in low RPM. My original props are Worpdrive with nickel edge protecter installed at the factory. The Worpdrive props is quite heavier than the Powerfin props we temporarily installed.

So, now I'm looking for new props. There are many prop manufactures, Worpdrive, Powerfin, Keav, Kool, etc, etc. I would like to know your experiences with your props. Poformance, quietness, price, etc.

Henry IMGW



  • Douglas Donaldson
    by Douglas Donaldson 7 years ago

    I've run IVO props and Aero props on my 582s and been very satisfied. Always with 2.68 gearing.

    The IVO is very simple to adjust and can be trimmed if necessary. It has the unique feature that a 3 blade prop can be converted to 2 blades in the field if you damage a single blade. The stainless steel leading edge tape only lasts 100 hours or so but replacing it isn't too difficult. Costwise, these are a good buy and easy to get. They may not be the most efficient of the bunch.

    I also have had good luck with the Aero props that Antares imported with their trikes. These are also light and are simple to adjust with the clever protractor device. They were inexpensive when Sergey was importing them. The Kiev props and Hot props are closely related - all coming from Ukraine. I believe they all use the same or virtually identical prop hubs and have similar blade construction but each offered different blade shapes. Some of the Aero props have "Q-tips" (winglets at the ends) that were supposed to reduce noise and improve efficiency but I'm not convinced they did much. I bet the Kiev and Hot props were just as efficient.

    Before you write off the Warpdrive you should try to determine if it was properly balanced and tracking. It isn't unprecedented for a vender to deliver a prop with mismatched blades. I'm not sure how you check this with the Worpdrive. But, ultimately, I believe these are heavy props which may be the root cause of your trouble.

    I paid extra to get a Bolly on my XT912 instead of the stock Warpdrive at Scott Johnson's suggestion. He said it would be smoother. I don't know if there is a Bolly for the 582.

    The stock Brolga props are working OK on the 582 and 503 Airbornes I've flown.

    Good Luck!

  • Henry Trikelife
    by Henry Trikelife 7 years ago
    Hi Doug,

    Thank you so much, you mentioned some prop names I've never heard. I'll look into more information on these props. I already contacted Warpdrive factory and they offered me free prop balance checking. I already checked some manufacturer's site, but they generally say their product is the best. I will need more real users opinions.
    Your input is very helpful. Thank you again.

  • Flying  Frog
    by Flying Frog 7 years ago
    Henry, I have the 3 blade Kiev prop on my 912S Tanarg. The factory fit Arplast, but they have said to me that the Kiev is more efficient. I would not know myself as it has always had that prop on it.
  • Christopher  BIG RED  Van Zyl
    Henry, as you probably know I am running a 5 blade Kiev prop on my Clipper 582 with a 1:4 gearbox . Absolutely awesome - very very quiet, and the price is right!
    If I have to choose again, I would choose a KIEV any day!
  • Doug Smith
    by Doug Smith 7 years ago
    Henry, I have a Coolprop and so far It is performing very well. I like it, but don't have any real thrust numbers to really compare. I have also owned a Powerfin and I really liked it. The method of pitch adjustment was the simplest I've seen. You can even adjust the balance yourself.
  • Henry Trikelife
    by Henry Trikelife 7 years ago
    Hi guys,

    Thank you for your great inputs. I also researched a little more. Now, I'm more inclined between Koolprop and Kievprop.
    They are reasonably priced and pretty same performance, and most importantly they are very light about 8 pounds.
  • Flying  Frog
    by Flying Frog 7 years ago
    Henry, If we were not 5000 miles apart, I would be happy to let you try my Kievprop on your machine. As it is I could not stand the down time with the postage time.
  • Henry Trikelife
    by Henry Trikelife 7 years ago
    Thanks Frog, would you send it to me with Fedex with a return shipping charge paid ? (just teasing)
  • mike lavergne
    by mike lavergne 7 years ago
    I have had both the Kool Prop and the Kiev props. I paid more to get the Kiev prop but was very disappointed with the finish work. I would suggest a Warp prop because it is American made and part are aviailable in days instead of months. I think the Kool prop and Kiev prop perform about the same with the Warp maybe a little less but not that much. When I had a prop strike with the Kool prop it was 3 months to get a replacement from V. (ugh) never again. When I receive my Kiev prop with fish eye's in it all called to the distributor and he said to get some sand paper and a spray can and paint it. He would not take it back nor would he fix it. Never again. (ugh) Warp comes with a great finish and works well and they do things the American way. (THEY STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCT). My dad use to say a car is no better than the dealership you buy it from. Hence the same with props SERVICE SERVICE SERVICE GETS MY NODE. MIKE
  • Henry Trikelife
    by Henry Trikelife 7 years ago
    Hi Mike, thank you for your opinion. That's a very good point. I'll keep my Warpdrive prop for backup. I'll try to re-balance it with $16 device.

  • Toby SkyDog
    by Toby SkyDog 7 years ago
    Should larger engines have more blades. I see some 503 50HP have 4 and the Revo 100 HP has a 2 blade. Modern math?
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 7 years ago
    Hi Toby,
    Its always a give and take in aviation and there are many factors that effect performance.
    Generally speaking:
    1) The most efficient prop is a single blade prop of large radius with a counter balance weight on the other side
    2) Hence generally speaking with all other things being equal (which they seldom are) 2-blade prop of larger diameter is more efficient and will give better climb than 3-blade and son on
    3) The semi-scimitar shaped blades like Sensenich prop or Kiev prop, are there to delay the shockwave interference due to tip vortices negating some of the noise
    4) The larger the prop diameter the higher the tip speed and the louder the prop (all else being equal)
    5) More blades generally means lower diameter, so lower noise but less efficient
    6) More blades generally also means slightly different "frequency" of sound. 3-blade props used a lot on trikes have a tinier sound which to my ears and to the ears of many in general public is "more annoying" (ever heard ultralights get called weed whackers, chain saw engines etc. that's why) than 2-blade wide chord blades which give a deeper frequency sound range which may be just as loud but has a different and some will say less annoying quality to human ear

    Many other factors to consider as well. Generally when you buy a trike the manufacturer or dealer will recommend something and generally their recommendation is ok.
    I know P&M uses warp drive 68" 3-blade prop as standard but when their US importer tested a Sensenich prop that we use on it, he got 150 feet per minute better climb and same cruise speed at 0.3 GPH less fuel burn (200 less RPM). Eventually P&M I believe approved the use of that prop on their Quik series of trikes (don't take my word for it though). But Sensenich prop is $1550 for the 2-blade and $2050 for the 3-blade variety.
    We use them because they generally stand behind their product. They are located 20 minutes from us in Plant City, FL and they make props for anything from US and UK military drones to GA airplanes like Cessna (Part 23) to airboat props and Rotax 912 series engines and Jabiru and have been making props for GA industry since 1932. That's a long arse time. Steve Boser who is their engineer probably knows more about aerodynamics of propellers for piston engines than most everyone around. He is the chairman of the ASTM Propeller standard sub-committee which will soon be a required item (ASTM standard propellers use) on LSA's.
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 7 years ago
    The other prop I would suggest looking at that is better priced is Aero Prop from Ukraine but I do wish they spoke better English. Hard to do business internationally if you cant speak English in today's world
  • Gregg Ludwig
    by Gregg Ludwig 7 years ago
    As mentioned there are many variables. Prop size, pitch and number of blades must be matched to the prop gear box ratio (or other way around) and with most trikes propellor diamater is limited by wing trailing edge clearance. With the 582 on the Dragonfly airplane HG tug many operators prefer a 6 blade IVO and a 4.0 gearbox for best climb performance.

  • Captain X
    by Captain X 7 years ago
    The Dragonfly HG tugs are also very concerned about noise (since at several flight parks, people have built homes now closely around). Just as with the saga of full size airports, people build close to them, but then complain about the continual buzz of airplanes (especially multiple tug operations in the am). So the extra blades on the Dragonfies help.

    There are more stringent noise regulations n parts of Europe. Thus many aircraft have to sacrifice what they'd want for what is allowed. On one version of the Tanarg, they narrowed the back end (less luggage room, quieter airflow to prop) and fited a prop with Q-tips on (less efficient apparently, but quieter)-- I like the US version Tanarg better.
  • Paul Hamilton
    by Paul Hamilton 7 years ago
    Great question. You ask the super basic questions that I get on a day to day basis.
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