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Properly Packing a Propeller 

We’ve all been there. Traveling to a new city or country, you find the perfect souvenir to commemorate the trip—a big figurine, a large piece of art, or an ornamental rug. Disappointment sets in the night before your flight home upon discovering that your new treasure won’t quite fit in your luggage.

Baggage size isn’t just an issue for tourists with bulky memorabilia; it can be an issue for MAF staff when shipping large aviation parts back and forth across the world.

One such part is a propeller. These parts are quite efficient for pulling a KODIAK or Caravan over remote jungles, but packing a propeller into a shipping box is another matter.

Propeller assembly training at MAF headquarters. Photo by Paul O’Brien.

This task is so difficult that it requires a special training of its own at MAF headquarters. Doug Heidebrink leads this training for MAF mechanics so they can learn how to properly assemble and disassemble propellers.

“This is necessary because the box we would have to build to ship an already assembled propeller overseas would be quite large. In some cases it would not even be possible due to the size of the aircraft it’s being shipped in,” said Doug.

While you might have to begrudgingly leave your souvenir at the hotel, it is essential for MAF to get parts like a propeller to the places we serve because isolated people are counting on the help MAF aircraft bring. And not only do the propellers need to reach their destinations, they must also be in good working order.

Steve Robinson (right) observes Dave Simon assemble a propeller. Photo by Paul O’Brien.

“This training is required before our mechanics can assemble or disassemble each make and model of our propellers. It is imperative that the propeller is assembled and installed correctly,” said Doug. “Or the results could be disastrous.”


Story ran in FlightWatch vol. 4, 2016.

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