Monday, June 29, 2009

A Whole Lotta' Props Goin' On

One of the more distinctive features of modern military prop-driven aircraft are the increased number of blades per engine. The Lockheed C-130 Hercules began life with 3-bladed props, then soon upgraded to 4-bladed ones. With the advent of the C-130J the blade count now stands at six per engine.

This is modest by some standards. The new Northrop Grumman E-2C/D Advanced Hawkeye carrier-borne aircraft has two eight-bladed props. The stalled, but still hoped-for Antonov An-70 had four engines with contra-rotating props of 6 and 8 blades. That 14 blades per engine.

Still, six-bladed props are impressive enough. I shot this particular J-model Hercules at the 2007 NAS Pt. Mugu Open House. The tight framing made for a more abstract image, which emphasized the blades.

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