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  #1  
Old 04-07-2017, 06:25 AM
KatanaPilot KatanaPilot is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Locust Grove, GA
Posts: 306
Default Hartzell Composite vs. Whirlwind Composite

Let me begin by saying I have searched and read the very old posts about Hartzell vs. Whirlwind. Those posts are approaching 10 years old and they mainly talk about Hartzell metal vs. Whirlwind composite.

We are trying to decide on a prop for our RV-7A (Titan IO-360 9.5-1 dual P-mags).

My son and I talked at length with Hartzell at Sun-N-Fun. Having owned a DA-40 with the Hartzell wide chord composite prop, we have a good bit of real time experience with that prop operating in rain and off our turf runway at Mallards Landing. It was outstanding and had very little wear over 4 years - despite being a much larger two blade vs. the MT three blade on our earlier DA-40 (which did not wear very well).

The Hartzell folks were very knowledgeable and honest about their prop. They know it's more expensive than most.

The Whirlwind sales rep knew very little about the construction of their propellers and hubs. It was hard to get a warm fuzzy after his comment "my friend across the street owns the machine shop where we make the hubs". I'm sure many have great experience with this company and I'm not trying to slight Whirlwind - other than to say it would have been preferable to have someone technically savvy manning their booth. I would also like to have seen a cross-section of their propeller.

I'm not trying to start a propeller war. That's been done here before.

I know the Hartzell is an outstanding certified propeller, performs very well and is priced accordingly.

What I don't know is how well (in comparison) the Whirlwind props and hubs are made and their longevity under real-world conditions. They do look really nice and can be painted to match the airplane when you order. That has a certain appeal, but is not the biggest motivator. The lower cost, flat rate overhaul is nice, too.

The difference in up-front price is several AMU's. That being said, price is not the primary concern, either.

My gut tells me the Hartzell will perform better on take-off, climb and will be close in cruise. It is probably better made, more robust and damage tolerant. Hartzell is well known and will be around for a long time. The Whirlwind looks better, the wide chord blade (200 series) probably performs similarly and costs less. The testing, construction quality and longevity of the prop (and the company) are a complete unknown to me.

Anybody want to weigh in?
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Krea Ellis

Locust Grove, GA and Miramar Beach, FL
DA20-A1 Katana "Princess Amelia"
RV-7A under construction
RV-10 under construction

Last edited by KatanaPilot : 04-07-2017 at 06:28 AM. Reason: added text
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  #2  
Old 04-07-2017, 06:50 AM
HSANTIBANEZ HSANTIBANEZ is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Chile, Valparaiso
Posts: 279
Default

Hi the hartzell is only for RV-8 because his lenght
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Valparaíso, Chile

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  #3  
Old 04-07-2017, 06:54 AM
Kahuna's Avatar
Kahuna Kahuna is offline
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Location: Gold Hill, NC25
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Default

Its going to be difficult to compare them performance wise as there are very few who went from one to the other. Having installed and flown with a dozen of the Hartzell composites, and written about them extensively here, we have not seen a single issue with them over thousands of combined hours. Like you said, more expensive yes. There is a reason they are the best and most reliable prop on the market. You might also read about folks and their send backs of the WW props on service and inspections. Just doing that once kills the price difference for me.
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  #4  
Old 04-07-2017, 06:58 AM
WAM120RV WAM120RV is offline
 
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Location: Coventry. England
Posts: 583
Default Aerobatic prop on Pitts

Hi,

I am considering a whirlwind for my 4 so have been doing a bit of research. My friend has just put one if their aerobatic props on his Pitts, it's a work of art!

He saw an increase in cruise of 15knts over his previous prop, and an increase in climb. I will try to find how many hours he has on it now.
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In completion stage of Loehle P5151
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  #5  
Old 04-07-2017, 07:13 AM
KatanaPilot KatanaPilot is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Locust Grove, GA
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Default Our experience was the same

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kahuna View Post
Its going to be difficult to compare them performance wise as there are very few who went from one to the other. Having installed and flown with a dozen of the Hartzell composites, and written about them extensively here, we have not seen a single issue with them over thousands of combined hours. Like you said, more expensive yes. There is a reason they are the best and most reliable prop on the market. You might also read about folks and their send backs of the WW props on service and inspections. Just doing that once kills the price difference for me.
I've basically come to the same conclusion, but I'm just looking for some real world data that might drive me to the Whirlwind. If there was information that indicated the performance, reliability, longevity and durability of the Whirlwind was close to the Hartzell, that could sway me. Right now, I think it's only price and appearance that are better. That's not enough for me.
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Locust Grove, GA and Miramar Beach, FL
DA20-A1 Katana "Princess Amelia"
RV-7A under construction
RV-10 under construction
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  #6  
Old 04-07-2017, 11:02 AM
ArlingtonRV ArlingtonRV is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Marysville, WA
Posts: 386
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I can't offer a comparison of the two, but I have had a constant speed Whirl Wind on my Sportsman for a little over 100 hours. I live in the Pacific Northwest so while I don't intentionally fly in rain, it is hard to avoid. The only "erosion" problem I have had is that the Whirl Wind stickers peeled off almost immediately, well at least part of them did. Other than that there is no noticeable wear on the blades.

The only perhaps odd thing is that the prop has to come off and go in for a teardown and inspection after 650 hrs.

If I understand the company correctly (and I freely admit that I may not) Whirl Wind is essentially 2 companies. One makes the fixed and ground adjustable props and the other makes the constant speed props, but the blades for both come from the same place.
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  #7  
Old 04-07-2017, 11:17 AM
scsmith scsmith is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ashland, OR
Posts: 1,734
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I have a Whirlwind 200RV.

As near as I can tell, the blades are solid carbon fiber. Extremely well made blades.

I can talk a little bit about the aerodynamics of both props.

The Whirlwind prop is designed using classical propeller theory with an extension to correct for the flow disturbance of the nose of the airplane. This is a nice approach. Classical theory tends to lead to designs with the very small tip chord. This is perfect for low-speed propellers, but is perhaps not best for higher tip Mach numbers. The Hartzell design reflects experience with dealing with higher Mach no. flows, where it is better to have a wider chord airfoil that is not working as hard, to provide the same lift, but with less compressibility drag, at the expense of slightly higher skin friction drag. We cruise with tip Mach no. of about 0.70 which is right about where the dividing line is for these two philosophies. Which explains why they have very similar performance for our use. If you are going to race and have visions of running at 2700 RPM much of the time (M=0.77) then I would recommend the Hartzell.

I am generally extremely happy with my 200RV, but....

At about 300 hrs, it was spitting so much grease that I pulled it for overhaul.
I know of others with the same issue.

The Whirlwind folks said that they have since switched to Viton o-rings, and expect to have no further problems with broken o-rings.

During overhaul, the folks at Stockton Propeller found some of the internal components of the hub excessively worn, pitted, spalling. Bearing races/retainers IIRC. They were stunned to find this on a 300 hr propeller and speculated that it might have been assembled with used parts. I have no way to know one way or the other, and don't mean to cast shade on Whirlwind. Just the facts.

With replacement parts (including Viton o-rings) and labor, the overhaul was close to 25% of the initial cost of the prop. That would come close to making up the cost difference between the props.

Time will tell if the new parts and new o-rings hold up. It has 440 hrs on it now.
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  #8  
Old 04-07-2017, 01:03 PM
BillL BillL is offline
 
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The constant speed Whirlwinds (Ohio) are based on a McCauley hub, that WW machines in house for the CS props. The blades (as I understand) are still made by Jim Rust's company (Whirlwind California) and are hollow, but are all carbon reinforcement, not a different mix like the Hartzell.

This video is old, but should help understand how they are made.

I chose the Hartzell composite after visiting both, but the choice is for each to make. The grease issue for WW was the result of a lube change incompatible with the seal. While it can happen to any company, WW is small and does not have the resources for controls as encompassing as Hartzell. However the same can be said for Vans Aircraft. The WW does seem quite efficient in cruise. Probably no measurable loss between the two companies. Thrust is another matter.

Beware of the Hartzell blade position at full pitch. That wide cord brings the blade swing back considerably.
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  #9  
Old 04-07-2017, 01:13 PM
scsmith scsmith is offline
 
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Location: Ashland, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillL View Post

Beware of the Hartzell blade position at full pitch. That wide cord brings the blade swing back considerably.
By that I assume you mean that with the wide chord, at coarse pitch the trailing edge of the blade moves aft quite a bit and could interfere with the cowl?


Interesting to hear that you think the o-ring problem was an incompatibility with the lube. The WW folks didn't say that at the time, but did say that Viton o-rings would solve it (which typically means either a chemical issue or a temperature issue). Fingers crossed I won't need another rebuild for awhile.

I believe it is correct that WW uses a McCauley hub design, but makes them themselves.
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Aeronautical Engineer
RV-8 N825RV
IO-360 A1A
WW 200RV
"The Magic Carpet"
Hobbs 470 in 8 years
also LS-6-15/18 sailplane
VAF donation Dec 2017

Last edited by scsmith : 04-07-2017 at 01:16 PM.
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  #10  
Old 04-07-2017, 02:35 PM
schristo@mac.com's Avatar
schristo@mac.com schristo@mac.com is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: WA
Posts: 941
Default good service and performance for me...

My WW200 was just overhauled after about 1300 tach hours... never had any grease leakage and the prop performed great.

I did a re-blade on the overhauled hub to the new HRT blades that are shaped a bit like the big hartzel.

At the closest point on the cowling (right side from the line of thrust) I have just shy of 1-1/2" clear with the blades flat. From Low to High pitch there is about 21 degrees of rotation which moves the trailing edge of the prop aft about 3/4".

Initial perceptions after seven hours of flight time:
There is notably more thrust.
Early testing suggests more climb and top end...
Detail testing will begin when we get better weather...
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