There are many reasons why you should be cleaning your aircraft on a regular basis. Not only will it keep your aircraft looking good, but will also prevent corrosion. Health and safety is of upmost importance when you mix people with planes so a regular clean will help to prevent accidents, especially when people enter or exit the plane.
A thorough clean is also the ideal opportunity to give the aircraft a good inspection, so a regular clean should ensure that any potentially dangerous problems are spotted before too late.
Washing an aircraft is not quite as straightforward as washing a car or motorbike. There are many sections which need to be washed with great care and attention and there are other factors to be considered too.
Here are 5 things to take into consideration before you commence cleaning your aircraft:
1. Cleaning Solution
Some chemical cleaning solutions can have an adverse reaction on the metal of the plane as most of the plane is made of aluminium. Special care should be taken when using alkaline solutions as these are most likely to cause damage. The fluid used for cleaning aircraft contains pollutants such as detergents, oil traces and hydrocarbons and should not be drained into storm water drains.
2. Be Careful With Plexiglas
Avoid using high-pressure washers on Plexiglas. Plexiglas should be cleaned in stages with copious amounts of water, and then dried and polished using a flannel cloth with a Plexiglas cleaner/polish.
3. High Pressure Washing
The aircraft can initially be washed without water using a high pressure hose to blow the dirt and debris off the body of the plane. Water mixed with detergent designed for cleaning planes can also be used. Wastewater can contain pollutants so this should be collected and disposed of in accordance with the SA Water Trade Waste General Policy. Click here for more information
4. Never Use Solvents
These can remove grease or break seals on components so they should be avoided at all costs.
5. Expect To Put In Some Effort
No matter what the cleaning product manufacturers say, all products suitable for cleaning aircraft will require some physical effort in order to clean heavily soiled areas. If you are using a product that doesn't require any effort it is most likely too aggressive and could cause damage to the plane and also your health if accidentally consumed.
There are many more things to be taken into consideration when it comes to cleaning aircraft. If in doubt, always consult an experienced professional.