While you may be familiar with the general concept of propeller aircraft and propeller engines, you may not be aware that they are often separated by whether they are designed with a pusher or puller configuration. Both types of layouts come with their own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between both will often come down to the specific goals and intended application of the design. In this blog, we will discuss the differences between pusher and puller propeller aircraft, allowing you to have a better idea of what each is and which might be best for your needs.
Pusher aircraft are actually quite unique, and that is why many are not familiar with what they are. While a puller aircraft features a piston engine where the propeller assembly is facing forward in the flow of air, pusher aircraft reverse this design with the propellers facing backward. The unique design of pusher aircraft makes aircraft models that use it fairly famous, and common examples of pusher models include the Piaggio Avanti, Beechcraft Starship, Northrop YB-35, and other various models used in commercial and military settings. Puller aircraft are much more common, and they include any aircraft model where the propeller blades face forward.
To determine which configuration is the best for your needs, it can be useful to compare both in a variety of ways. For example, propeller efficiency is a major concern when it comes to achieving optimal flight and balancing cost. With a pusher design, the propeller will be placed behind the wing or fuselage. As air moves across the aircraft toward the propellers, it will become more turbulent and inconsistent flow patterns are produced. This results in a loss of airflow energy, that of which translates into undesirable blanking effects. As propellers function best when operating with a constant velocity of airflow, the highest propeller efficiency is achieved with the puller design.
Turboprop intake efficiency is also quite important to consider, and many general aviation aircraft utilize reverse flow engines where air enters the back of the engine, flowing forward toward the propeller. This often leads to intake losses as the air will need to be reversed throughout the system. With pusher aircraft, there is no flow reversal in the inlet, leading to efficiency improvements.
Aside from other various performance factors, safety can be a major concern. Regardless of whether a pusher or puller design is used, engineers must be very careful in balancing weight and system placement. Placement is also important for other safety features such as ensuring that emergency exits are clear, and that the engine is not too close to the passengers or entrance. As strikes that occur while landing or on a runway are important to avoid, it is useful to know that pusher designs suffer from more propeller strikes. This often leads to an increased need for maintenance and repairs. Lastly, the choice between each will affect crew visibility and handling, both of which should be taken into account.
If you are in the market for various pusher propeller or puller propeller components that you can steadily rely on, look no further than NSN Catalogue. With our strict NO CHINA SOURCING pledge, we guarantee that each and every item we offer comes from a reputable entity, and every purchase ships out alongside its applicable qualifying certifications and manufacturing trace documentation. Take the time to explore our database as you see fit, and you can submit a completed RFQ form as provided on our website to quickly and easily request quotes for your comparisons. If you have any questions or concerns about our services or simply wish to start an order directly, give us a call or email at any time!
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