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Aviation Glossary :: Beta Range  Aviation Glossary :: Beta Range FAA Written Test Preparation
Aviation Glossary Welcome to the Dauntless Aviation Glossary!

At Dauntless, our editorial staff maintains the web's largest unified glossary of aviation terms. This glossary is built from a combination of official, quasi-official, and proprietary sources (including original material that we develop oursselves). Uniquely, we often provide multiple definitions of a given term so that you can find that which best applies to you. In order to maximize your learning efficiency, this glossary (and similar ones for our international users) is incresingly fully integrated into our aviation learning apps, including our FAA written test prep and FAA practical test prep software and apps. If you like this glossary, you'll love them with their polished learning environments and world's best and clearest content (please do give them a try.).

Beta Range
Beta Range
With a turboprop engine, in order to obtain enough power for flight, the power lever is placed somewhere between flight idle (in some engines referred to as “high idle”) and maximum. The power lever directs signals to a fuel control unit to manually select fuel. The propeller governor selects the propeller pitch needed to keep the propeller/engine on speed. This is referred to as the propeller governing or “alpha” mode of operation. When positioned aft of flight idle, however, the power lever directly controls propeller blade angle. This is known as the “beta” range of operation.

The beta range of operation consists of power lever positions from flight idle to maximum reverse.

Beginning at power lever positions just aft of flight idle, propeller blade pitch angles become progressively flatter with aft movement of the power lever until they go beyond maximum flat pitch and into negative pitch, resulting in reverse thrust. While in a fixed shaft/ constant-speed engine, the engine speed remains largely unchanged as the propeller blade angles achieve their negative values. On the split shaft PT-6 engine, as the negative 5° position is reached, further aft movement of the power lever will also result in a progressive increase in engine (N1) r.p.m. until a maximum value of about negative 11° of blade angle and 85 percent N1 are achieved.

Operating in the beta range and/or with reverse thrust requires specific techniques and procedures depending on the particular airplane make and model. There are also specific engine parameters and limitations for operations within this area that must be adhered to. It is essential that a pilot transitioning to turboprop airplanes become knowledgeable and proficient in these areas, which are unique to turbine-engine powered airplanes.

In the “reverse” pitch position, the engine/propeller turns in the same direction as in the normal (forward) pitch position, but the propeller blade angle is positioned to the other side of flat pitch. [Figure 14-8] In reverse pitch, air is pushed away from the airplane rather than being drawn over it. Reverse pitch results in braking action, rather than forward thrust of the airplane. It is used for backing away from obstacles when taxiing, controlling taxi speed, or to aid in bringing the airplane to a stop during the landing roll. Reverse pitch does not mean reverse rotation of the engine. The engine delivers power just the same, no matter which side of flat pitch the propeller blades are positioned.

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source: FAA Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A)


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Disclaimer: While this glossary in most cases is likely to be highly accurate and useful, sometimes, for any number of editorial, transcription, technical, and other reasons, it might not be. Additionally, as somtimes you may have found yourself brought to this page through an automated term matching system, you may find definitions here that do not match the cotext or application in which you saw the original term. Please use your good judgement when using this resource.


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