Tractor propellers are those mounted on the upstream end of a drive shaft in front of the supporting structure. Most aircraft are equipped with this type of propeller. The tractor type of propeller comes in all types of propellers. A major advantage of the tractor propeller is that lower stresses are induced in the propeller as it rotates in relatively undisturbed air.
Pusher propellers are those mounted on the downstream end of a drive shaft behind the supporting structure. Pusher propellers are constructed as fixed- or variable-pitch propellers. Seaplanes and amphibious aircraft have used a greater percentage of pusher propellers than other kinds of aircraft. On land planes, where propeller-to-ground clearance usually is less than propeller-to-water clearance of watercraft, pusher propellers are subject to more damage than tractor propellers. Rocks, gravel, and small objects dislodged by the wheels are quite often thrown or drawn into a pusher propeller. Similarly, planes with pusher propellers are apt to encounter propeller damage from water spray thrown up by the hull during landing or takeoff airspeed. Consequently, the pusher propeller is mounted above and behind the wings to prevent such damage.