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In a youtube video an airboat is featured with two contra-rotating propellers, each holding nine blades. Interestingly those nine blades are not spaced evenly, but grouped into three groups. I've never seen such an arrangement before, and I expected an evenly spaced configuration to be more efficient. What could be a reason to prefer this grouped configuration?

grouped propeller blades

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    $\begingroup$ Even though this question is about a boat and not really an airplane, I still hope it is ok to post here! $\endgroup$
    – flawr
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ Related if not duplicate: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/43279/… $\endgroup$
    – Sanchises
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ Comment rather than answer since this is just a guess, but maybe they found it easier to build a propeller with three evenly-spaced groups of three blades each than to build one with nine evenly-spaced blades? $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 16:48

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If there was a technical reason beyond "it looks cool", I would guess it would be some benefit noise wise, where it may sound more like a 3 blade prop than a 9 blade, and the resulting lower beat frequency of one prop, interacting with its counter-rotating mate, was less objectionable.

I went on a mangrove airboat tour in Forida once in a 454 V8 powered boat and it was earplugs PLUS ear muffs together for me, so I can imagine that anything that helps with noise levels while absorbing all that power would be very sought after.

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