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Hartzell drives forward with new prop designs

New president joins AOPA Pilot Lounge video series

July 1, 2021

Rather than waiting to see what might happen during the coronavirus pandemic, officials at Hartzell Propeller took the opportunity to focus on product development and innovation, according to JJ Frigge, the company’s new president.

Frigge was elevated to the role just as the pandemic started and about a decade after joining the historic company as a financial analyst.

Hartzell recently expanded the application for its Voyager propeller line, which has been very popular with backcountry pilots. The three-blade metal prop increases cruise speed and takeoff acceleration and provides a higher climb rate, all important characteristics for those flying in remote areas. Meanwhile for Beechcraft Bonanza cross-country travelers, Hartzell’s new Navigator line of three-blade composite props offers lower weight and long life. Its Talon line of composite propellers has found wide acceptance in the aerobatic world.

In a new AOPA Pilot Lounge video interview, Frigge describes how the company has shifted its emphasis to composite for most new aircraft deliveries, but acknowledges that metal props continue to be important in some applications, such as backcountry and agriculture.

Frigge discusses the company’s work to design propellers specifically for electrically powered aircraft, as well as Hartzell’s strategy for acquiring companies that supply products throughout the engine compartment and wing deicing equipment, among others. “We’re in an acquisition mode,” he said.

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