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Neglected aircraft brightwork can be an absolute pain. Where as a professional look can send all the right messages about the high performance of an aircraft, the opposite can make things seem as though a plane is not quite ready for flight. While the necessary time and manual work it takes to get brightwork up to standard can be daunting, it’s a necessary sacrifice when it comes to chasing away signs of neglect, wear and tear.
What are the safety risks when aircraft brightwork is neglected? Keep in mind, being aware of such risks could be a great source of motivation to get yourself on a schedule for regular brightwork maintenance. Also, what steps should be taken to address neglected aircraft brightwork? Finally, what are the benefits of maintaining bright work and staving off signs of neglect?
Addressing the Risks of Neglected Aircraft Brightwork
It may come as no surprise to veteran aircraft owners and technicians that neglecting aircraft brightwork can be a quite a risky ordeal. Leaving the best parts of your aircraft unclean or tarnished with heavy debris or other types of neglect can be costly and unsafe.
For example, insect debris and buildup can be abrasive and a heavy wind resistor. Even in ideal weather, the extra drag caused by such debris can affect performance. A dirty and greasy aircraft underbelly can also negatively affect knots, and unclean plexiglass and windows can affect visuals. All this plus, the longer you wait to address each issue, the higher the risk of losing performance benefits and increased difficulty for your next maintenance job.
Taking Action To Address Neglected Aircraft Brightwork
Coming to grips with the inherent risks involved in leaving your brightwork neglected for any period of time could mean it’s time to take action, and soon. With the right cleaning and polishing tools and tips, this step doesn’t have to be a chore.
One great starter step is to set up a maintenance schedule for your aircraft. If you don’t already have one, it’s the best thing for ensuring that your aircraft sees the last of day after day of neglect with chores piling up and negatively affecting performance of the aircraft.
Once a solid maintenance schedule is in place, you’ll need to ensure all the tools you’ll need to tackle the cleaning and maintenance are all readily accessible. This may require investing in a few new buffing pads and polishers, but doing so could be well worth it. Once the cleaning and polishing is underway, expect to spend a few days getting the job done right even with the most effective tools available.
Without the right tools in place, each cleaning and maintenance job could take twice as long as it should so get in mind the new tools you’d like to buy or give your old ones a fresh start with repairs and upgrades.
Next, it’s time to consider supplies. One of the most important supplies when it comes to addressing neglect is aircraft cleaner. There are a number of cleaners on the market, and the first inclination for novices may be to go with the cheapest out there or with cleaners used around the house. However, this could be a big mistake in terms of maintaining the longevity of your brightwork.
Due to the types of paint and aluminum beneath, most planes are suited to cleaner made specifically for aircraft. Sticking to these will ensure that the layers of sealant, the paint and the metal alloys beneath all stay in good shape over time. It also may be extremely tempting to go with a power wash job, but again, the pressure wash that may be excellent for your home exterior is not so great at all for the unique surfaces of an aircraft.
Addressing Neglect With the Right Aircraft Metal Polish
Aircraft polish is a viable concern as well when it comes to addressing neglected brightwork. Because you want your plane to look its very best and shine with that mirror-like finish of professional detail jobs, choosing the right aircraft metal polish is imperative.
Top brands include polish for all types of aluminum and metal alloys as well as a variety of paint finishes. One word of caution however, is to avoid polishes that may be experiencing production shortages or setbacks. This will hinder your polishing process and can make a polishing job a lot more inconvenient that it has to be.
Instead, locate a reliable aircraft metal polish company with a solid system of polishes good for all types of brightwork troubleshooting. For instance, you may start with a polish that clears light oxidation, cloudiness and water marks, and work your way up to the next polish, slightly more abrasive, yet still gentle, to address tougher issues such as heavy oxidation and scratches.
For aircraft brightwork, it’s the finishing touches that matter most. For best results, go with a polish that will produce a mirror-like shine while still protecting the aircraft surface until future maintenance can be completed.
Maintaining Your Brightwork Between Polishes
Even the best results for any polishing job on neglected aircraft brightwork can be squandered if the aircraft is not maintained properly between polishes. This means that regular check-ups may be necessary in order to ensure that your polish job doesn’t put you right back where you started – with neglected brightwork in need of serious attention.
For regular maintenance tips and even scheduling, consult your manufacturer’s manuals. These can be excellent resources when it comes to determining the best way to keep your plane fit for flying and well-maintained both inside and out.
Also, routine cleaning can go a long way toward upkeep. Keeping a regular routine of washing the plane after a set number of flights can be a wise step toward keeping the aircraft in top performance even between polishes.
What to Do About Neglected Brightwork
Addressing neglected brightwork can require significantly more labor than a regular polishing job, but with the right tools, supplies and polish, it’s possible to achieve excellent results. Your aircraft brightwork is an essential aspect of the look and feel of both flight performance and experience. Address neglect early and regularly for best results.