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View Poll Results: You would be an idiot to use any other prop for acro/formation than this one:
Hartzell Blended Airfoil 2-blade 4 100.00%
Hartzell Composite 2-blade 0 0%
A used fixed pitch prop from an airboat guy 0 0%
Any constant speed prop as the prop is a really small part of flying acro/formation 0 0%
Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-10-2022, 10:07 AM
AV8ER's Avatar
AV8ER AV8ER is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 255
Default RV-8 Hartzell alum 2-blade blended airfoil v. Hartzell extended hub composite 2-blade

Looking for real world experience from those who have flown both of these props. I am not currently interested in other props manufacturers.

This build's YIO-360-M1B, 180hp RV-8's mission is acro and formation flight, neither of which I have experienced in an RV before.

This is what I have been told so far:

74 in. dia.
Aluminum 2-blade blended airfoil
(I)O-360/390 180-210hp
RV-6A, 7A, 8/8A, 14A

Blended prop
- no yellow arc
- faster cruise
- cheaper
- limited service life as material is removed at overhauls. Once a station on the prop is outside the tolerance it turns to scrap.
- can use Van's composite spinner
- a well rounded prop for "total performance"

74 in. dia.
Extended hub composite 2-blade
(I)O-360/390 180-210hp
RV-6A, 7A, 8/8A, 14A

Composite 2-blade
- no yellow arc
- better climb
- gives up a few knots in cruise (2-3 knots slower, but what do you say?)
- lighter and smoother, have heard between 15 and 35 pounds? What is the real weight difference?
- possibly an indefinite life as material can be added to the prop at overhaul
- must use Hartzell polished alum spinner that costs $1,585 (roughly $1200ish more money than the Van's comp spinner)
- prop/spinner combo costs 75% more money to purchase once you include the more expensive Hartzell spinner
- better aerodynamic braking due to its wider cord
- better prop for acro
- better prop for formation as the improved aerodynamic braking is a real advantage

The blended airfoil prop has well rounded performance but gives up some short takeoff, climb, and acro/formation performance for its higher cruise speed. The composite prop has shorter takeoff roll, better climb, better aerodynamic braking and is the preferred acro prop.

Now shoot holes in this with your real world experience. I am looking for the flying performance differences and not looking at the dollar to performance "better value" debate as if that was the case we would all have fixed pitch cruise props.

Additionally I know the blended airfoil prop can use a standard Van's cowl but can the composite prop?
- Tim Jennings
Bought the -10 (Thanks Carl!)
Built the Hangar
Currently building the -8
"How's it feel to be the fastest plane in the sky? You were spanking two Cirrus planes, a Mooney, and another plane. I took screen shots" - Quote from the best wife in the world.

Last edited by AV8ER : 04-10-2022 at 10:37 AM. Reason: Addded pictures
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Old 04-10-2022, 02:34 PM
fl-mike's Avatar
fl-mike fl-mike is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,842

The replies I received with the same question were:
If Hartzell is sponsoring you and gives you the composite, take it.
If it is coming out of your wallet, the price delta over the metal is not worth it. (don't forget the price of the spinner)

I went with the metal. Hard to beat the performance vs price, but there is a weight penalty.

The other thing I heard were some stories about Hartzell not being able to repair the composite blades, and any damage becomes a replace $ituation.
Mike W
Venice, FL

N164WM RV-6A Slider/O-360/FP Sold 4/2022
N184WM (RV-8) Flying. Titan IOX-370/ CS/G3X
N184P reserved (RV-8QB) Empennage kit and QB wings in the shop
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Old 04-10-2022, 03:24 PM
RhinoDrvr RhinoDrvr is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Lemoore (Fresno), CA
Posts: 224

Consider the aerodynamic braking that you consider a plus for the composite prop becomes a big negative if the engine quits.

Iíve seen pilots (more skilled than I, granted) fly great form with FP props. Iíd go either fixed pitch, or blended airfoil. No chance Iíd spend ~$20k on a composite prop.

Also, consider this, a friend of mine had a midair during a formation flight (he was hit) and his metal prop survived and powered him to the ground. A composite prop wouldnít have fared as well.
Evan Levesque
RV-8 N88MJ (Built by Michael Robbins)
Lemoore, CA
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Old 04-10-2022, 03:34 PM
rv8ch's Avatar
rv8ch rv8ch is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGY
Posts: 5,116

I've got the metal prop, and it's nice, but I can't say it's better or worse than any other prop since this is the only one I've flown on my RV-8. One question is flight in rain - any difference there?
Mickey Coggins
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Old 04-10-2022, 03:48 PM
BillL's Avatar
BillL BillL is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Central IL
Posts: 6,916

Pretty good summary I think. I have the composite and concur with the 3-4 kts slower, but warned of that from Hartzell. Glide is not affected if the gov knob is pulled out. Low RPM at full power and 160+ ktas limits low governed RPM due to the pitch limitation of the wide cord. No dressing of the prop needed as the nickel leading edge is really hard, but the aft side of the blade gets chips from stones.

You may have a 4 G limit with the extended hub, ask Hartzell.

BTW - I used the Vans spinner but had to extend the cowl nose. $$$ vs hours - your choice. The extension (sabre or hub) is required to ensure clearance on a James cowl.

Last edited by BillL : 04-10-2022 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 04-10-2022, 07:02 PM
Scotty G's Avatar
Scotty G Scotty G is offline
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: PHX
Posts: 165

Iíll suggest that your formation requirement shouldnít effect your prop choice.

With either, youíre still going to be constantly changing your power. It wonít really matter which one you have on there. You donít ďbrakeĒ the airplane with the prop per se, you reduce power therefore thrust.

The only time you ďbrakeĒ in the sense I think you mean it is when you have to saw the power off, and we all hate doing that.

Sure, there will be some difference between the two props, but Iíll bet itís minimal in this aspect.

To me, the cost / performance and weight curves are the ones that are more important.
Scotty G
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Old 04-21-2022, 09:57 AM
KGT KGT is offline
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Rosemount MN
Posts: 33
Default I like Hartzell composite

Iíve been running the Hartzell composite for about 3 years and absolutely love it. If it is supposed to be slower I donít see that. I cruise between 185-190 KTAS depending on LOP or ROP at 2400 rpm. I am also running a BPE IO-360 200hp angle valve which may be contributing to cruise speed. Each to his/her own I couldnít be happier with my choice.
RV-8 Flying since 2012
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Old 04-21-2022, 11:31 AM
Northernliving Northernliving is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 702

Originally Posted by KGT View Post
I’ve been running the Hartzell composite for about 3 years and absolutely love it. If it is supposed to be slower I don’t see that. I cruise between 185-190 KTAS depending on LOP or ROP at 2400 rpm. I am also running a BPE IO-360 200hp angle valve which may be contributing to cruise speed. Each to his/her own I couldn’t be happier with my choice.
My RV8 came with a Prince Carbon FP prop and I now have the Hartzell 2 blade composite. I've also flown two other RV8s with the Hartzell BA metal CS props, and I would take the 2 blade composite in a heartbeat again and again. It's ~20lbs lighter (the composite is 42lbs) than the metal BA prop and that's on the nose of your plane! My empty weight is 1047lbs, and I have a 210hp PV IO-360. I cruise at 180-185 KTAS ROP at a DA of ~9k burning 8.5-9gph with ~23in of MP. If it matters, there are also no RPM limitations with the composite prop. I'm pretty sure it's what Mike Stewart, the Redline team, and other formation guys fly behind.

The prop was part of a new engine install to a flying RV8 built to plans for with a FP prop. It had the spacers, etc. shown in the drawings for the FP prop. The Hartzell composite was a bolt-on replacement with zero cowl changes. The spinner is easily adjusted to mate up to the cowl with minimal gap. If you would like pictures, shoot me a PM.

Everyone has to make their own economic decisions, but this prop purchase is one I would make again if given the choice. It's a magnificent prop and a joy to fly behind.
Brian J.
Boston, MA
RV8 Based at ORH - Purchased
New Superior IO-360-B1AC2 w/Hartzell Composite CS
RV8 - #83313 - Under Construction (sort of!)

Last edited by Northernliving : 04-21-2022 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 04-21-2022, 11:39 AM
jclark jclark is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Columbia, SC
Posts: 992

The two planes you picture (RV8As) flew to SNF together. I (RV6) and another RV6 also were in the flight. The “red” plane with the composite prop has been flown with both. He had no problem flying formation with the group (he is highly experienced). If you want to have an offline discussion with the pilot, I may be able to arrange such. I am not sure that he is checking posts here these days.

While I have perceived real value in the composite Hartzell, I cannot give comment as I have only flown behind it for a few flights as compared to hundreds of hours behind the blended airfoil metal. It boils down to what is important to you. Weight, speed, acceleration, “braking”, costs. Etc.
James E. Clark
Columbia, SC
Former EAA Board Member
RV6, RV8 Flying
RV6A Hoping to get back to finishing soon
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Old 04-21-2022, 12:35 PM
Mikeyb Mikeyb is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Pasadena ca
Posts: 243

Itís amazing how little quantitative data there is on this particular choice.
I used the composite for the reasons mentioned previously and more but donít have anything to compare it to. There are several discussions of FP vs the composite but not the BA aluminum.

This is one of the better ones
SN 83764
Hartzell Composite CS
Phase 1 complete 10/29/22
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