The History of Piranha Propellers
A Christmas get-together, a time for the family… that is how the idea for Piranha Propellers began in 1988. Two half-brothers, Brad Stahl and Eric Jochim, sat around talking about boating, waterskiing, and fishing. Each had an engineering background in a different field.
Stahl was a 1984 graduate of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in aeronautical engineering and Jochim was a 1971 graduate of Oregon State University in civil engineering.
Jochim complained about the cost and inconvenience of damaged propellers. Stahl wondered about the possible applications for an incredible new composite he had found. “What can we build out of this new material that will allow someone to repair his propeller in just a matter of minutes for less cost?” Neither realized this was the start of a project that would revolutionize the recreational-boat propeller market.
Stahl, founder of BCSI – an aeronautical consulting firm – had the first design completed by February 1989, and soon the name Piranha was chosen and the distinctive logo was designed. By April 1989, the first molds were built. Then the hundreds of hours of testing and modifications started, followed by the many nights of indecision.
In late 1989, everything finally worked and the pair obtained a booth at the Cow Palace for the San Francisco Boat Show to see what the public thought of the new invention.
The response was overwhelming. it seemed that everyone had a horror story to share about damaging propellers, and they all loved the idea of being able to change each blade separately, and do it themselves in just a few minutes.
In June 1990, the two were issued U.S. patent #4,930,987. They continued to make refinements and realized the world’s first modular composite propeller was on its way.
At the Chicago IMTEC 1990 – the industry’s big trade show for boats and accessories – the response again was great. Piranha was one of the top five innovative products of the year.
Now, Piranha has a complete line of props for sterndrives, outboards, and inboard-outboards ranging from 9.9 to well over 280 horsepower.
Meet The Piranha Team
Since 2006, Laura has assisted retail customers and Piranha dealers in sizing propellers for specific applications. As she continues her goal of earning an International Business degree, Laura serves as Lead Tech Support for Piranha. Laura also attends several boat shows each year, feeding her desire to travel and her constant aspiration to learn. When not answering tech calls at the factory, or attending boat shows with Cindy, Laura enjoys the outdoors. Hiking, biking, and horseback riding are among her favorite past times, and she enjoys spending time with her friends.
Brad, a Cal Poly University alum with a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering. He worked with Lockheed Aircraft Corp. evaluating missile control systems for fleet ballistic missiles. In 1989, Brad formed Piranha, with manufacturing facilities in San Luis Obispo, California. Brad helped Piranha move from an idea, to the leader in composite marine props. His second passion is flight, and has engaged in test flights as a flight test engineer. He is an active instrument-rated pilot and uses both his 1970 Beechcraft Bonanza and a 1946 Globe Swift. Brad is readying a ground-up restoration of a 1951 Bell 47 D1 helicopter.