In response to growing environmental concerns over noise from general aviation aircraft in Europe, the UK's Britten-Norman plans a six-month trial of new generation propellers on a BN2B light utility piston-engined Islander. The test is part of a UK Government-backed programme.

Designed by US propeller manufacturer Hartzell as part of its NASA-sponsored AGATE/GAP concept, the all-metal three-bladed experimental propellers are designed to reduce noise impact significantly "through the lower tip speed and scimitar" shape.

Flight testing is to begin by the end of the third quarter on the North East of England's Police Air Support Unit's Islander.

"Police operators are interested in achieving minimum acoustic footprints for their aircraft, especially for night flying over urban areas, and have been investigating noise reduction technologies," says Britten Norman's head of flight engineering, Mark Wilson.

The company expects the trial "will demonstrate significant performance and efficiency benefits for the propeller, as the enhanced aerofoil efficiency will result in the same power transfer at a reduced engine rpm".

If successful, the test is likely to affect sales and retrofits of the Islander, made and assembled at Britten-Norman factories in Bucharest, Romania, and Bembridge, Isle of Wight, in the UK.

Source: Flight International