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 my Buccaneer
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 Czech Republic, 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 impressed. 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
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
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 indestructible, 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
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 and proceeds to use 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
the next year, 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
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 pitch!