I'm about to order a plane kit (RV-10) and one of the choices I'll be making is a 3-blade vs 2-blade propeller. A 3-blade prop should be: easier to balance, quieter and capable of generating more thrust - assuming engine has adequate power - which helps to shorten the take-off distance. However, it also adds more drag (i.e. it's less efficient) so it's common to see a reduction of top-speed.

Can anyone comment on their relative performance in winds or high density altitudes? I'm not concerned about the top-speed as much as dealing with adverse weather. I plan to fly in or near the Rockies. If benefits are negligible, the cost savings are considerable when going with a 2-blade prop. I reached out to Hartzell but have not heard back.

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    $\begingroup$ I think the answer can be found in this question and in this one $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 7:41
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    $\begingroup$ The benefit of the 3 blade is noise level and ground clearance. If those are critical features, spend the money. For pure efficiency, a 2 blade will give more static thrust. In the bush, Beaver and C-185 operators like 3 blade props because it eliminates the searing BLAAAT sound on takeoff from supersonic tips and reduces complaints by the neighbours. If you can afford to build an RV-10 in the first place, the cost difference probably isn't a show stopper. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 13:07
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    $\begingroup$ Seems like rate of climb and takeoff should be priorities (high DAs?). I'd go with a three blade. A few more knots in cruise out of a two blade really doesn't do much fore me. $\endgroup$
    – acpilot
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 17:59


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