Choosing between a fixed pitch wood or a fixed pitch metal propeller

While wood propellers are not certified for many planes, for those for which they are certified there are some advantages:

  • Wood props are lighter and result in an increase in payload
  • Wood propellers cause less vibration.  While metal props accumulate invisible flaws from vibrations and flexing, wood props are not affected
  • In the event of a prop strike, the wooden propeller will itself be destroyed but in most cases not damage the crankshaft.  After a metal prop strike, the engine should be disassembled and inspected
  • Wood props must be sent back to the factory for overhaul
  • Wood props are generally the less expensive choice

 Most new airplane designs require metal propellers:

  • Metal propellers are more efficient because of a thinner airfoil design
  • A certified prop shop can change the pitch of a metal propeller.  (This change in pitch must of course comply to the manufacturer’s specifications.) 
  • Metal propellers can be overhauled at any FAA certified propeller facility
  • Metal propellers retain their value better than wood as a trade-in for resale.