This is a "Chicken Wings" comic by Michael and Stefan Strasser. The characters are a pilot, Chuck, and a mechanic, Julio. Both are anthropomorphic chickens. They are standing in front of a Cessna 172 in a hangar, with the propeller nearly horizontal. Chuck points at the prop blade on the viewer's left, and says "Hey Julio! There is a dent in the left propeller blade." Julio replies, "Really? The LEFT propeller blade? You're killing me!" Chuck says, "Well, camera left." In the next frame, Julio manually turns the prop, again leaving the blades in a nearly horizontal position, but now it is implied that the positions are swapped. In the third and final frame, Julio asks, "Okay now, smart guy. Which blade is it now?" Chuck answers, "Oh look, the right one has a dent as well!"

Obviously, as Julio pointed out, Chuck's method of identifying propeller blades is ineffective. Is there a standard way to identify blades, other than tautological statements like "There is a dent in the propeller blade with a dent"?

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    $\begingroup$ some guy in the comments of that comic wrote, "Simple. It´s the left blade when the blade is left of the plane when cylinder #1 is at TOC", I don't know what about turboprops or more than 2 bladed props $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 13:00
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    $\begingroup$ Do you need the joke explained? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ You have to get a can of Prop Wash and clean off the blades to find the L & R marks. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHall no, I get the joke. Calling one blade "left" and the other "right" isn't helpful because the propeller rotates. I'm not asking for an explanation of the joke; I'm asking whether there is an actual right way to name a particular blade. $\endgroup$
    – Someone
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ Well, that plus getting right and left mixed up. Anyway, there might be a good question in here about whether individual blades on a CSP are serialized for traceability when replaced or overhauled, but fixed pitch props are one piece so there is no need to differentiate, and as the cartoon points out... you can't. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


On a constant speed propeller, blades may be numbered as parts of an assembly, although not by markings visible on the outside. On a fixed pitch aluminum club propeller, there are no blade markings.

If you see a big ding on a blade during a walkaround, you are just going describe with without identifying which blade, which will be obvious to the mechanic who goes to dress it out.


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