Without a method of converting the power produced by the engine into useful thrust an aircraft would just be sitting still and creating a lot of noise and not get anywhere. In the past, all kinds of different propeller designs were tried: sometimes flat wooden blades, from one bladed counter weighted to multiple blade models rotating at various speeds.
Wooden hand made propellers are still being sought after due to their original look and fine quality. Numerous modern aircraft are being flown with these beauties, ranging from ultralights to authentic (and replicas of) aircraft from a bygone era.
Culver Props is a subsidiary of Valley Engineering located in Rolla, Missouri since 2001. They are a family owned business established in 1999 with a huge love for aviation and this can be seen in the beautiful propellers they have been manufacturing.
Each propeller is made to meet the customers need regarding cruise RPM, size and pitch. They are made from northern hard maple, mahogany and birch. A skilled wood worker selects every piece of wood before starting the manufacturing process of glueing, sawing, sanding, polishing and painting. Expect most props to take a week to finish. Before shipment, the final product is carefully inspected to the high standards maintained by the company.
Some propellers have a reinforced leading edge to protect them from the impact of rain and stones. This leading edge can be just 3M tape or is in some cases made from brass.
Hover the mouse over the image to see more examples.
Before Culver can start building your propeller they need information on: bolt pattern and size, right or left hand rotation (pusher or tractor configuration), center hole diameter, reduction gear ratio (should you have any) and what cruise speed (mph) and engine RPM you require.
On the Culver Props website you will find their pitch calculator very helpful answering these important questions. A torque specification table for bolting propeller bolts is also available for reference. Make sure to verify the correct torque values after a couple of hours of flying.
Culver also has a large supply of reconditioned, used and trade-in propellers in-house available. These can be used as backup, or just to put them on your plane or in your shop and just admire them with friends. Should you be interested, give them a call to see what is on hand. Savings up to 50% can be possible with these practically new second hand propellers!
To get an impression how Culver balances their propellers have a look at the next video:
Propeller fabrication / carving can be seen in this YouTube Culver video.
Valley Engineering is also manufacturing propeller speed reduction units for VW engines. These PSRU units have undergone more than ten years of research and development. They were designed and developed to meet the performance needs of their ultralights, trainers and light planes the company had been building since 1993. Testing showed these reduction units to be very strong and lightweight, yet they yielded outstanding and unmatched performance.
Valley Engineering/Culver Props can be contacted at the following addresses:
|Valley Engineering, L.L.C. - Culver Props|
|15685 Co. Rd. 7100|
|Rolla, Missouri 65401, USA|
Text and images used with permission of Culver Props.Written by EAI.