by Jonathan M. Stern
Propellers generally may be of the fixed pitch variety, where the angle of the blades cannot be adjusted, or adjustable pitch, where the blade angle is adjustable. For each aircraft speed, there is a blade setting that provides the greatest efficiency. Accordingly, fixed pitch propellers are designed for maximum efficiency in only one flight regime—usually for takeoff and climb.
The Cessna 182RG is equipped with a constant speed propeller, which is a type of adjustable pitch propeller that automatically adjusts the blade pitch to maintain a constant rotational speed.
The greater the pitch of the blades, the bigger the bite of air that the propeller takes with each revolution. The variations in blade pitch are similar to the different gears available on a 10-speed bicycle. The instrument panel is equipped with a propeller control, which controls the rotational speed of the propeller. The rotational speed of the propeller is displayed on a tachometer in the cockpit.
For initial flight training, you will fly the Cessna with a fixed pitch propeller. With a fixed pitch propeller, power is displayed in RPM on a tachometer.