The other day, I was having a rather interesting conversation with a gentleman about the types of aircraft cleaning supplies and products he ought to be using on general aviation aircraft such as Cessna, Beech, Piper, and Diamond. We also discussed the cleaning of Boeing and Airbus airliner aircraft. Now then, things have changed a lot in the last 30-years and today, aircraft cleaning products are not a one-size fits all. Why you ask? Well, I’d like to take a few moments to discuss exactly that if I might.
You see, today we have composite aircraft and some rather high-tech performance aviation paint being used. This changes the dynamic of not only desired results in the cleaning process, but also the aircraft’s performance, efficiency, safety and strength of the paint. If something isn’t right it could lead to paint degradation, increased corrosion, and maintenance challenges.
As aircraft and aerospace reach for those diminishing returns to squeeze out just a little more performance for fuel efficiency, we will continue to see the trend of incorporating spec’ed soap, cleaners and waxes into the mix, the aircraft painters are voiding warranties if the wrong de-ice fluids or cleaners are used. The FAA is now looking into cleaners and approving certain soaps and cleaners, even though they freely admit that different companies, manufacturers, paint suppliers, painters, and maintenance crews vary in their assessments.
Just because a soap is approved by Boeing or Airbus, Cessna or Diamond, doesn’t mean that the soap is proper for the type of paint that an aircraft owner or company has chosen to use. Also, I do recommend that you buy soaps and detergents in your market because some of these products available in the states stop working once they thaw and freeze during shipment, the component chemicals in the product stop functioning. So whereas, certain products for fair-weather regions have stellar performance, they won’t work where you are, actually vice-versa too.
The great thing about companies like Cessna, Diamond, Airbus, and Boeing is that you can call them and ask them what they recommend and the aircraft paint guys are also easy to reach and put out service bulletins and recommendations. If you are looking for additional advice on aircraft cleaning products that are FAA approved or approved by various aircraft manufacturers, there is a company in Dallas called Jet Stream Products which might be worth talking to.
Now then there are some specific manufacturer cleaning products, Cessna has their own line for instance, for aircraft owners. One of the challenges is that some of these types of products are retail based, far too costly for a high-volume aircraft cleaning service, but if you get an MSDS sheet on them you can compare active ingredients and better then able to ask the right questions of other suppliers too. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.