African Pilot

Cessna Skywagon owners review

Pilot Willie Stene puts the Voyager through its paces in the backcountr­y


At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, Hartzell Propeller debuted a new propeller upgrade for the Cessna A185E/F Skywagon and AgCarryall aircraft, called the Voyager. The new swept-tip aluminium three-blade, 86-inch propeller was custom-designed for the backcountr­y aircraft, which is known for stellar bush performanc­e in the most inhospitab­le terrain. After the Voyager was introduced, Hartzell asked several pilots in the Skywagon community to install the new propeller on their airplanes and provide feedback. Pilot Willie Stene was one of the pilots tapped to put the Voyager to the test.

Willie Stene is a GA maintenanc­e and FAA approved parts manufactur­er and the manager of Stene Aviation in Polson,Montana.He tests and offers a number of performanc­e upgrades for 180/185 aircraft.Willie said,“We are constantly testing the latest performanc­e upgrades on Cessna aircraft and we are always trying to make our own airplanes better.” Willie put together an initial test programme that compared the Voyager propeller to another prop on his 185 Skywagon. After gathering the data, he says the Voyager provided a noticeable performanc­e improvemen­t. “My first impression was that take-off was better, climb was better and cruise was better,” he said. “Those are typically mutually exclusive from one another, so it was very impressive to see the propeller deliver improvemen­ts for all these aspects.” Later, Willie took his 185 to the backcountr­y of Utah to see how the Voyager performed on a more technical airstrip. “We were able to get some phenomenal take-offs; some were at lower elevations and others were higher at 6,500 feet. Even when the airplane was heavy, we saw take-offs improve by about 10% and climb improve by 12-14%,” he said. “It’s great to be able to bring more and carry heavier loads.” He added, “When we are testing performanc­e upgrades, we usually expect to see improvemen­ts in small increments. With the Voyager, it was a large improvemen­t across the board.”

Willie said Voyager also made operating in the backcountr­y environmen­t feel safer. “I was able to clear trees and obstacles with a greater margin than I had before,” he said. “Any time you can put something on your airplane that’s a significan­t safety improvemen­t, it’s a no-brainer you do it. This prop upgrade provides a lot of peace of mind.” The Hartzell Voyager propeller is now available for immediate delivery and installati­on on A185E/F Skywagon and AgCarryall aircraft. Pricing includes a polished spinner and all STC documentat­ion. The scimitar propeller can be worked down to 84 inches in diameter if needed. In addition, the propeller has a 2,400-hour, six-year TBO and the longest propeller warranty in the business, all the way through the first overhaul.

For more informatio­n please visit www.hartzellpr­

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