Propellers: Are More Blades Really the Answer?

Posted on April 16, 2018 linda strong aviation

Across generations, airplane propellers have been produced and manufactured to aid planes in one way or another. Blades come in diverse shapes, sizes, configurations, colors, you name it and there is most likely a blade that fits your criteria.

In World War 2 there were a few planes that used four spinning blades instead of the traditionally used three. The advantage of this additional blade? More wind beneath its wings, essentially. The addition of the fourth blade created more push without having to make the blades longer. Before the fourth blade was added, blades were extended far beyond the plane in order to create enough lift, but they could be shortened by simply adding another blade.

When you look out planes closer to modern day you can see how the blades curvature changes. There are many different opinions on why you would use one blade style over another. Some say that the squared off blades allow for controlled cruising and easy lift off. Others chime in that more cylindrical style blades are better at maintaining speed.

They each have their advantages and disadvantages and many of them can be chocked down to the era. War planes were a modern marvel and there was a lot of experimentation going on to make sure they were clean, mean, fighting machines. Some companies turned to square blades as planes became more advanced because their weight distribution allowed them to be more efficient. While others stuck with rounded blades because they were smoother. Each company is going to be different and want to fulfill different needs.

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