PROP_DESIGN is open source, public domain, aircraft propeller design software. PROP_DESIGN can also be used to design products similar to aircraft propellers:

  • Axial Flow Fans
  • Electric Ducted Fans - EDFs
  • Geared Turbofans - GTFs
  • Open Rotors
  • Propfans
  • Turbofans
  • Ultra-High Bypass Engines - UHBs
  • Unducted Fans - UDFs

Besides traditional aircraft, PROP_DESIGN can also aid the design of:

  • Airboats
  • Computers
  • Drones
  • Hovercraft
  • HVAC Systems
  • Radio Controlled Toys - RC Toys
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - UAVs
  • Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft - VTOL Aircraft

PROP_DESIGN allows for the design of unducted or ducted aircraft propellers with straight or swept blades and constant or elliptical chord distributions. PROP_DESIGN can be used for all altitudes covered by the U.S. Standard Atmosphere of 1976. Efficiencies of approx. 90% are easily attained, even for effective velocities as high as Mach .8. Below are some other unique features of PROP_DESIGN:

  • Extremely precise; less than .001% error in the two variables that it iterates upon
  • Requires few computational resources (i.e. minimal CPU, memory, and storage requirements)
  • Executes quickly, even on mobile computing devices such as; laptops, netbooks, and tablets
  • Computes the static condition, the case where there is no forward motion of the propeller
  • Automatically determines the optimum propeller geometry for any operating condition that a solution exists
  • Designed from the ground up to make comparing two different aircraft propellers or two different operating conditions easy
  • Creates aircraft propeller performance maps for fixed pitch and constant speed propellers
  • Aids the creation of hot shape aircraft propeller/fan CAD models
  • Benchmarks, burns-in, and load tests CPUs
  • Benchmarks Fortran compilers
  • Allows you to find the optimum Fortran compiler options for your CPU
  • PROP_DESIGN was released as open source, public domain software, so you are completely free to do whatever you like with it


In the past, aircraft propellers have also been called airscrews. This is due to the fact that, at the cruise condition, the wake of an aircraft propeller is helical. Moreover, at the cruise condition, the air behind an aircraft propeller looks like the threads of a screw. It would not be wrong to say that, aircraft propellers work their way through air in the same manner that screws work their way through solids. This does not help to solve the mathematics of aircraft propeller design and analysis. However, it is a simple way of explaining how aircraft propellers function.