DynaVibe Blog

Recovering “Lost” Horsepower

 Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Vibrations Steal Energy

There are many benefits to dynamically balancing the prop assembly and removing vibrations associated with propeller imbalance.  Often talked about benefits include smoother flying with less wear on the engine, instruments and airframe.  These benefits have enormous value, as they reduce fatigue on the plane, pilot and passengers, while extending the life the airplane.  They are reason enough to keep the prop assembly in good balance, all the time.

Another benefit of dynamic prop balancing is performance.  When an imbalance introduces a vibration, energy is spent shaking the airplane instead of moving it.  With a finite amount of horsepower available to propel the airplane, a vibration uses some of it in a destructive way, leaving less available for propulsion.

The percentage of horsepower lost to vibration may seem small.  Look at it this way: suppose a propeller imbalance is costing 2 percent of an engine’s horsepower.  This 2 percent is going into shaking the airplane.  If that airplane has a 200 HP engine, in this scenario 4 HP is lost due to vibration.  To provide some perspective, this loss is the equivalent of hooking up a lawn mower engine to the airplane’s crankshaft to do nothing more than shake the airplane!  That’s how much energy a propeller imbalance can direct into the crankshaft bearings and the rest of the airplane. 

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to recapture this “lost” horsepower.  Dynamically balancing the prop assembly allows most or all of the horsepower lost to vibration to once again go toward flying the airplane.  Using the DynaVibe GX2, you can easily determine if a prop is out of balance, and also get a solution for how much weight to add, and where to add it to achieve good balance.  To learn about using DynaVibe to dynamically balance propellers, enter your email address below, visit the RPX Technologies website, or call:  469.708.8779.


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