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Care and Maintanence

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#1 MartyMar



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Posted 07 October 2017 - 22:52

Hello, Everyone.


I hope this post is appropriate for this forum location. I have a small mobile car wash and express detailing business and was emailed by gentlemen asking me if I do Helicopters and small aircraft. He flys into Louisville apparently several times a month for work. My problem is I've never cleaned a small aircraft or a Helicopter lol. Do you guys and ladies have any advice? 

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#2 500F


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Posted 09 October 2017 - 10:49

You are wise to ask.


The most important thing is to not use any cleaners that cause hydrogen embrittlement. Any cleaner that has anything "cloride" or "flouride" in it will cause the aluminum to loose electrons and become more brittle. This is especially the case for bare aluminum such as leading edges of propellers and rotor blades. 


That means no simple green, 409, or anything else that has "cloride" or "flouride" in its ingredient list.


I have used bug and tar remover for bugs but I'm sure some on here will say that its too harsh.


Make sure it is cool before starting, at least in the engine area.  Spraying the exhaust while it is still warm can cause cracks. 


The paint is not base-coat clear-coat. Its a single layer, no rubbing compound. 


I'm not sure about waxing. I know it can be done but not sure what to use.


Start with a wash like you would a car with basic car wash soap and water and brush very lightly with a soft brush. Then use aircraft grade cleaners such as 210 on the windows, not windex! And use only new microfiber towels on the windows, they scratch easily, no paper. 


Remove any remaining soot with an aircraft grade soot remover such as aeroglaze or Brulin 815MX (follow directions for dilution and rinse)


Unless its a vintage aircraft, the bearings will all be sealed and the electronics waterproof, so there aren't any areas you cant spray. I would ask the owner to be sure on that one though.

#3 Hobie


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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:27

Big high 5 to you Marty for asking before possibly causing damage.  This tells me you are smart and through, probably why your client has sought you out for bigger things.  Nice!

#4 r22butters


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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:15

If he flies a Robinson you can look in the flight manual (its in the cockpit) and the chapter on "handling and maintenance" will tell you how to wash it.


Well after fifteen and a half years they finally went from saying "the pilot shortage is coming", to "the pilot shortage is here!"  Yep, 2018, year of the pilot shortage!  


,...didn't seem that big a shortage though?  In fact if you blinked, you'd of missed it,...me, I was out taking a wiz,...dammit!  :lol:

#5 Jaybee


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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:31

The windows are made of plexiglass, loosen all debris from plexiglass with water and your hand if needed before washing and only use up down strokes on the plexiglass no circles.

The FAA Maintenance Technician handbooks are free to download and there is a chapter on cleaning in one of them.
"In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks." — Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900. 
"The foot rests have a profound impact on the outcome of today's flight ending safely" - My flight instructor.

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