|Picture this, your at an airshow selling
ultralights and someone comes up to you out of the blue, that can
hardly speak English, dressed like an escapee from the "flower power
generation" - and asks you to try out his propeller.
Well that is how I met Ivo Zdarsky the owner of IVOPROP. He
literally walked out of the crowd and invited me try out his prop on
Amphibian. I sat down and had a talk with him for quite
a while to get some background on this "prop" and designer. It seems IVO had recently escaped from the Czechoslakia, by secretly building
himself a trike, mounting an old car engine to it, building himself
a prop, teaching himself how to fly, and navigating himself and his
craft across the "Iron Curtain" to freedom. While this may sound far
fetched - it is the truth, in fact the plane, engine, and prop are
on display in museum which features "escape vehicles."
Anyway back to the story - so I bolt this
three blade prop on to my little single place Buccaneer XA powered
by a 503 Rotax. IVO sets it up for me - the prop was ground
adjustable something up until then I had never even heard of being
available for ultralights. A couple of twists of the blade and the
rpm is dialed into where I am comfortable with it. The prop is real
smooth and quiet, but the real difference is the performance - my
climb rate increased by over 200 feet per minute and cruise speed at
5500 rpm was about 6 miles per hour faster. Needless to say I was
IVO told me to fly with it for a couple of days, he would
get back to me. Now remember IVO had never seen me before, I did not
have a commercial display I was just there selling from my plane on
the flight line - I could have flown away, or left the show for home
and he wouldn't have a clue how to find me!
Well I flew on his prop for two or three
days - then set out on a little cross country up to the Florida
Flying Gators up near Leesburg. Arriving I decided to retract the
gear and set down on one of the many ponds surrounding the field,
and do some touch and goes.
Up until this time I had been flying on an
"Ultraprop" a great little 2/3/4 blade composite prop, that was very
smooth, quiet and nearly indestructable, with the last being the
most important. When you land or take off on one of the old XA's the
prop really takes a beating from the spray coming off the hull.
Well the spray came off the hull into the
new "IVOPROP" and literally ate it for lunch, during my first touch
down and fast taxi across the pond. The vibration was so bad that I
had to shut the engine down and paddle to shore! A friendly "Gator"
gave me a lift back to Sun N Fun, where I picked up my old prop for
the return trip.
Next day IVO shows up smiling from ear to
ear and asks "how the prop works" - a little sheepishly I bring out
what is left of his prop and hand it to him. He can't believe it. He
sits down with me and I recant the above. Ivo and I part company and
the next time I see him is at Oshkosh. According to friends he has
been looking for me for several days - he has another prop he wants
me to try out! This time I only have my two place Buc with a 532
Rotax 65 hp. No problem, he again dials it in and I take off. Not
wanting to waste anytime I fly over to the seaplane base and set
down on the lake, set up for a fast taxi on the step and listen as
the water goes through the prop during high speed turns on the step.
No vibration, no loss of performance - just to be safe I bring it
into shore and give it a thorough check - I had brought my old prop
just in case! I fly back and am greeted by Ivo again with that
childish grin of his.
For the next couple of years I buy quite a
few props from IVO, the delivery is good and quality excellent. Then
I get several orders in where the props are "different." They
vibrate, and need balanced, the hubs are not as "finished." Then I
read of a report of a failure in Florida where the prop caused an
engine to come off a plane. I immediately contact all of my
customers - tell them to stop flying until I can get some more
information. I get in touch with friends in Florida and am told that
while the prop had failed it is being attributed to "improper
torque" of the blades. None the less I check out ALL the props I
have sold. The last batch of 5 props - have several areas that I
"question." Two areas of major concern to me are in the hub and at
the base of the ball of the blades.
I call IVO - to find that "he has left the
company" - in fact when I placed the last couple of orders I was
always told he was "unavailable." I am told to talk to the NEW
owner, rather than talk I decide to bring the hubs and blades to
Oshkosh and see the NEW owner face to face! On arriving at his
display I find him demonstrating the strength of his NEW prop via
the use of a prop bolted to a car engine, and a set up that allows
the prop to contact a steel bar while spinning.
I bring out my blades and hubs, in private,
the new owner looks at the props and indicates that while "there is
nothing wrong" with the "hubs or blades" he will replace them as a
sign of goodwill. He then takes the blades from me, I kept the hubs
and uses the blades in his demonstration.
Several months went by, when I still hadn't
received any new blades (I replaced the customers props with GSC
props with leading edge protection) I called was put in touch with
the owner, who said he would send them out right away. About 3 weeks
later I received 1 prop, which I had to pay the shipping, handling
and taxes on - and a BILL for the prop!
To this day that is all I have ever received
- from the NEW owner and NEW company WARP DRIVE!
I lost touch with IVO until Sun N Fun when
all of a sudden there he is, grinning at me with a NEW style of prop
in his hands. Gone are the hub, ball and socket and weight! (While
IVO has never told me what happened - the rumour is that once the
tooling and molds were "in house" the NEW OWNER became the designer!
Thus no need for IVO.
It was funny to hear a very similar story
from Full Lotus, a set of floats are asked for to demonstrate at the
show - only to be copied, by the same individual, and in the copy if
you looked real close you could still see the Full Lotus LOGO!!!)
Anyways back to IVO. The new prop uses a
torsional steel rod imbedded in the blade for adjustment. As
pressure is applied to the base the rod twists the blade! With all
blades supplied with a stainless steel leading edge for "water
protection." Adjusting the blades can be done without loosening any
bolts, and no gauges are needed. You turn a shaft in the middle of
the prop and all blades are adjusted at the same time, to the same
For more information and pricing on
the IVOPROP click here!