The idea for a specialized prop
balancing business came up after a conversation between Doug
a Piper Aircraft Representative in early 1990. While maintaining a fleet of aging
Piper Cherokees for a flying club in Minneapolis, Doug was querying the rep about recurring spinner bulkhead cracks
and was informed they were likely caused by prop unbalance. At the time Dynamic Prop
Balancing was a little known technology in the Midwest and was just as
new to Doug. Sensing a potential market
for the service as the first advanced balancing equipment was becoming
available, he became the first to
purchase a digital prop balancing computer in the Midwest.
In mid 1990 Harmony Aviation began to provide the
aviation community with on-site prop balancing service using the latest vibration analysis equipment. Doug realized that in order to stay busy
remain specialized) he would have to deliver service to a
large area. While he began by serving Wisconsin and Minnesota he
up covering ten+ states in the Midwest. Currently,
Doug will travel almost anywhere in the U.S. to spin balance ("Harmonize") props for groups
Initially, dynamic prop balancing was a difficult
service to sell as most aircraft
owners were unfamiliar with the advantages of "spin balancing" props.
However, after a few years of gentle arm twisting, word got around and
Harmony Aviation was off the ground. Long story short, Doug
has balanced well over 6000 props since 1990. Although he humbly admits
the learning curve will never completely
flatten out; still, since he started balancing so early in the game, it is
not a stretch to proclaim that Doug
is likely the most experienced prop balancer in the world.
less than 2% of the entire General Aviation fleet was dynamically balanced.
The percentage today (in the mid-high
performance category) is fast approaching 40%. While Doug would never suggest he could take all the credit for this improvement in the numbers,
still, two decades of applied
pressure towards recognition of the procedure has pushed in that
direction (at least in the Midwest). In any
case and whatever the reason, Doug is pleased to know that so many
aircraft are running much smoother and that Dynamic Prop Balancing is
now recognized worldwide as a "standard best practice".
Still, with all the balancing
equipment around, there are only a few truly qualified vibe control technicians with the
right combination of skill, equipment and total and/or recent experience
to get the job done right every time.
discovered balancing tricks that most "part timers"
will never have the chance to learn. Nothing short of
balancing mastery can finesse a prop/engine to run with
turbine like smoothness, at all power settings. His reputation continues to
reward Doug with a loyal following of return customers
that would never consider anyone else for their prop balancing job; even
if it means waiting a few weeks (or flying a few hundred miles) to get
the job done right.