A Blog ALL about Aircraft Detailing
The Importance of Maintaining a Clean Aircraft
A clean aircraft first and foremost is a visible reflection of a department or aircraft owner’s dedication to its equipment. It’s an obvious statement that time and efforts were spent to care for the appearance of the aircraft. The first impression to passengers and customers alike is comfort that their flight experience will be effortless.
Cleanliness also helps ensure things are in good working order. A clean aircraft is easier to inspect, when the exterior is free of dirt and debris you can more easily identify cracks, damage, missing rivets and many other potential hazards.
Avoiding the accumulation of filth and dirt on your aircraft may be easier said than done. On the ground or in the air your aircraft is at risk. Air pollution, smoke and ultraviolet radiation are constant factors contributing to the buildup of dirt during flight and wear and tear on the paint and fuselage. The contrast in temperature and weather conditions along your flight path can be contributing factors to the amount of damage as well.
Your best solution for a clean aircraft is to properly wash and wax the exterior on a regular basis. Don’t let residue build up over time. Allowing the dirt and dust particles to sit on the exterior will only worsen the condition of paint and the surface of the aircraft.
There are two methods in which you can clean, including dry wash and wet wash. Both methods have positive and negative factors.
A wet wash is an extremely effective method for cleaning, however, can be more time consuming and of course requires access to water which can be burdensome depending on aircraft size. Water can seep and pool into compartments and eventually lead to corrosion if you are not careful when washing. Pay special attention when rinsing to prevent water from entering pitot or static ports, which can affect instruments and air data computers.
Meanwhile, the dry wash method, which cleans and shines in a single process, is becoming much more common and widespread throughout the industry. Just like waxing your car, simply wipe the exterior with the cleaning wax compound. Then remove the cleaning agent from the surface with a clean terry cloth or mircrofiber to remove dirt and reveal a wonderful shine. Your end result is often less intrusive than a wet wash and wipe.
Quick Detail tips from the pros
- Tip #1 : When you wax your canopy/windshield, do not use a swirling motion. The wax strips the top layers of the material away so you could be left with semi-permanent swirls. Instead, wax from front to back or back to front. This will keep your streaks parallel which is much easier to see through in direct sunlight.
- Tip #2: Use the mildest soap and cleaners first, and highly diluted. The harsher the chemicals, and agitators, the higher risk you run to etch the surface, and the more it collects dirt, the faster it gets dirtier, the more it needs to be cleaned, the more harshness you'll need... you get the point.
- Typically, a heavy de greaser like Turbine Soot Master is only needed around the engine area to break down grease. It's safe on all surfaces, but not necessary.
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