The Rebirth of an Iconic British Propeller Brand…in Italy!

The Tonini brothers Alessando (left) and Paulo holding their new creation. [Photo via GT-Propellers]
Aircorps Art Dec 2019

The Fairey-Reed propeller for the de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk, which is now getting very difficult to acquire, is undergoing new production engineering by GT-Propellers of Italy with different features. The original all-metal fixed-pitch propeller has been reproduced by GT in a wood composite with metal leading-edge protection. The hardest challenge to solve was the metal hub. We designed this to feature various ground pitch adjustment positions so that Chipmunk operators can select the optimum pitch setting for their particular mission. This method is widely used in propellers we currently produce and offers huge advantages over the OEM prop!
The Fairey-Reed propeller was an ideal racing propeller, but it became apparent that the design overall was unsuitable for use by military and commercial operators because it was a fixed-pitch propeller. [Photo by National Air and Space Museum]
The GT blades are designed following the original Fairey-Reed drawings so this results in a 100% authentic look. We could have easily produced a fixed pitch reproduction like our competitors do, but we never shy away from a challenge so we worked longer and harder before coming to the market. We believe the result will be well waiting for and amazing. Of course, other aircraft using the de Havilland Gipsy Major engine will also benefit from this unique GT technology. We will publish more details as soon as available. In the meantime, we would like to wholeheartedly thank the international Chipmunk community that is patiently supporting this project.
It was on the 22nd of December 1969, that Gian Carlo and his brother Felice Tonini opened their doors to a new business, GT Eliche, manufacturing tirelessly and without interruption until today — more than fifty years later. The brothers’ early commissions were the repair and manufacture of replacement propellers for the first German-powered gliders and American early experimental aircraft. Production was all meticulously done by hand. At the same time, Gian Carlo Felice designed and built their very own glider — which they flew successfully.
Paolo Tonini proudly poses with a brand-new Chipmunk propeller blade in the family workshop. [Photo via GT-Propellers]

Their father, Domenico Tonini (born in 1903), was a professional violin maker by trade and had his shop situated in the Gothic Line region. It was during WWII, due to his strategic shop location, that Domenico was approached by both German and later by Allied forces to lend his expert woodworking skills to the repair of wooden propellers, which were mounted on the likes of Fieseler Fi 156 Storch, Piper J-3 Cub and L-4 Grasshopper, and Auster aircraft. With his masterful dexterity in producing musical instruments and working with propellers, it followed that the father passed on his knowledge to his two sons. The brothers Tonini went on to learn propeller design by Novello Gaspari of Rimini, who also had vast working experience in engineering, both naval and aviation.

Gian Carlo and Felice, together with their father Domenico joined forces with Novello Gaspari to go into serial production in 1971, from their original workshop in Rimini. Since then, Gian Carlo has been producing propellers continuously, 12 hours a day for six days a week. Now Gian Carlo and his 2 sons, Alessandro and Paolo, have taken the challenge to new levels by constant progress in the design and production of new GT-Propellers.

For additional information on the new-build Fairey-Reed propeller program, and GT-Propellers’ other products, you can visit them on Facebook. They can also be contacted by email at



1 Comment

  1. Allesandro is in the red shirt, Paolo in the green sweatshirt. I befriended them both a few years ago at Oshkosh.

Graphic Design, Branding and Aviation Art

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