Competition Aircraft Moves to New Facility, Offers 1982 Prices
20 Years in Production
Ultra-Prop propeller manufacturer Competition Aircraft, in continuous production since 1982, has moved to a new 5,600-square-foot facility. Company owner and president Bob Davis says, "The new location will give us plenty of room for continued research and development on propellers and other ultralight products. And, to commemorate our 20-year anniversary, we're offering our line of 2-, 3- and 4-blade Ultra-Props at 1982 prices until June 1, 2003."
Competition Aircraft says they introduced the first successful composite propeller in 1982 and has manufactured more than 14,000 units. "We are the only company that uses thermoplastics to make propellers," says Competition Aircraft. "About 50,000 blades have been injection molded from one mold. This process and careful quality control means that all blades are interchangeable, even with parts that are 20 years old."
Other composite props, including Competition Aircraft's high-performance Brolga blades, use thermosets a wet, hand-laid-up process with epoxy resins, requiring a family of many molds and oven cure. Each blade has to have a final balance and usually is one of a match set. This process makes a great blade, however the method is very labor-intensive, says the company. A variety of blades can be easily manufactured since the tooling is relatively inexpensive.
Contrast that with an injection mold that cost the company $50,000 in 1982 but can make a perfect blade every 3 minutes. "That cost is probably why no other propeller company has used thermoplastics," says Davis. "The prop hubs and pitch blocks are also injection molded. We plan to further develop a new process that will use thermoplastic impregnated glass and carbon fibers to make prop blades."
The company is also working on a twin-engine ultralight helicopter.
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