How to Properly Pack and Transport Airplane Propellers

How to Properly Pack and Transport Airplane Propellers

Freight Shipping urgently is needed for vital aircraft parts such as airplane propellers. It's not always straightforward, depending on the type of shipment, deadline, and propeller size. As to AOG (aircraft on the ground) shipments, every second counts because indefinitely grounded planes equate to revenue loss. 

However, travel liability can be significantly reduced with specialized crating and careful packing. Expediting airplane propellers and parts are routine in the aviation industry. Given the nature of such high-value equipment, it's best to work with a trusted freight forwarder who has experience with aircraft parts shipping.

What Material Is Your Aircraft Propeller Made of?

Airline propellers are made from wood, aluminum, or composites. Sometimes the leading edges are reinforced with nickel for durability. Most third-party shippers eliminate the risk of damage during transit by tailoring the packaging of airplane propellers according to size and budget. Remember that density and size (freight class) affect packaging materials and shipping price.

Most airplane propellers have one of the following blade types. 

  • Wood Blades: Predominantly found in hobby or vintage aircraft before World War II, these propellers consist of several layers of wood glued together. Wood blades have a great deal of inherent strength that requires surface and edge protection. 
  • Aluminum Alloy Blades: Strong, light, and easy to repair, these blades have high rotation speeds, making them a popular aviation choice. The general appearance is similar to the wood propeller, except certain sections are thinner. 
  • Composite Blades: Made from carbon fiber, composite blades are strong and easy to shape and repair. Most aircraft manufacturers have switched from aluminum to these due to their versatile and lightweight nature. 
airplane propellers

Packing Airplane Propellers

The most important thing to get right when it comes to aircraft parts packaging is ensuring the packaging can withstand inevitable turbulence during transportation. We offer our logistic solutions based on crucial freight-packing practices: 

  • All airplane propellers should always be transported in a propeller shipping box or robust crate and securely packed and padded with foam contours and other supports to protect delicate surface coatings. Padding and protection also absorb impact from handling and traveling on conveyor belts, etc. 
  • Airplane propellers must be packed horizontally on support, supporting the propeller hub, or suspended at the attaching holes in the hub.
  • During storage, propeller blades should be protected by protective covers. In the event of long-term storage, it is recommended to clean the propeller hub and blades with a detergent and lukewarm water before packaging.
  • Airplane propeller blades should also be protected by protective covers if transporting the propeller in a disassembled state. Wrapping the blades and hub with several layers of cardboard, bubble wrap, or blankest prevents direct contact during shipping.

Choose a Freight for Propeller Shipping: FTL or LTL?

Full Truckload Shipping

FTL stands for “Full Truckload” and refers to hiring an entire shipment for aircraft transportation, whether your goods occupy the entire space in a semi-truck.

Advantages

  • Typically faster because the shipping route is direct. 
  • Considered safer because goods aren’t transferred between trucks during transport.

Disadvantages

  • More expensive and not as environmentally friendly if you consider the cost, fuel, labor needed to ship a single item. 
aircraft transportation

Less-Than-Truckload

LTL stands for less-than-truckload shipping and means you only hire a portion of the semi-truck carrier space. 

Advantages

  • Less expensive because you only pay for the space your freight occupies. 

Disadvantages

  • Sometimes goods are transferred from one truck to another, increasing the risk of damage. 
  • Since LTL shipments have to be combined with others to make up volume, they take longer to reach their final destination. 

While LTL offers greater cost savings, there is a higher risk of potential damage and delivery delay. Because LTL does not go directly to the end customer, the actual delivery date may differ from the estimated delivery date. As for safety and speed, when shipping parts from a propeller aircraft, it’s best to go FTL.

Conclusion

According to the International Air Transport Association, airplane propellers require specialty crates and expert handling, which is why it’s safer and better to get professionals to pack and ship your propeller for you. At Cowtown Express, our team has been helping aviation clients for over 30 years, specializing in expeditiously shipping parts and reverse logistics. 

We know that shipping times are crucial, especially in the aviation industry, and endeavor to provide unparalleled customer service and speedy delivery without compromising safety. If you want complete care of your aircraft parts from pick-up to delivery, then contact us today at 817-590-8686 or reach out online here!

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