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Sifting through the sites dedicated to aircraft metal polishes is overwhelming. So many polishes are on the market, each claiming to offer the best shine and the best quality results. The actual truth is that the best aircraft metal polishes can be narrowed down to a few top performers, with one in particular outshining the rest.
Aircraft Polish Industry Basics
Before delving into that, however, it might be good to discuss how the aircraft metal polish industry developed into the plethora of products you see on the market today.
The general history of aircraft metal polish, as we know it today, is tied very closely with the evolution of the aircraft metal industry. Originally, many planes in the aviation industry were made of galvanized steel. The shift to aluminum began to take place rapidly due to it’s strength and lightweight flexibility, but it didn’t occur until some time after Henry Ford produced the first all-metal plane made of duralumin in 1927, the Ford Trimotor.
In fact, it wasn’t until 1936 when American Airlines debuted its DC-3 commercial passenger airplane that aluminium alloy aircraft polishes became necessary. That’s because the DC-3 was the first all aluminum alloy aircraft to fly. Although the planes produced at the time could not go higher than 10,000 feet due to the lack of pressurized cabin technology we enjoy today, these planes were much lighter and faster than their predecessors.
When the Federal Airline Administration (FAA) came on the scene in 1967, regulations for airline safety came with it. These included rules for regular inspections of aircraft including checks for dents and scrapes and damage to the the metal exterior as well as regulations for routine maintenance. This, of course, included the use of aircraft metal polish not just for cosmetics but for the safety and maintenance of the manufacturer’s costly investment.
FAA Rules and Regulations
It is true that FAA rules and regulation require that every airline maintenance program meets its approval. Generally, a maintenance program will require a walk-around to inspect the exterior of a plane several times per day. This inspection should reveal dents, nicks and scratches that could cause problems for the plane later down the line.
In addition, a typical program may also include a more in depth inspection of the exterior of a plane every 12-17 months to detect corrosion and cracks that are not visible to the naked eye using special technology. For this reason, many of the aircraft maintenance products used to repair, clean or polish an aircraft must be FAA-approved or certified for airline use.
These FAA rules for maintenance highlight the importance of a top quality aircraft metal polish. Without it, damage to the plane’s exterior surface may go unchecked and cause additional problems and safety issues down the line.
Top Aircraft Polishes
So what are the top metal aircraft polishes? The most well-known names in aircraft polish are polishes that have been on the market for years and can be found on the shelves of most maintenance technicians.
Perhaps one of the most well-known aircraft polishes is Nuvite. The company has a line of polishes, including compounds, sold in a variety of mixes and measures since 1949. However, due to recent production shortages, customers are searching for alternatives to the popular aircraft polish, despite its popularity.
Another big name in the aircraft polish game is Jet Stream Aviation Products. Since 1981, Jets Stream has sold aviation maintenance products including aircraft metal polishes focusing on aluminum and steel exteriors. In addition to aircraft metal polish sold by the pound, the company offers a number of polishing kits and cutting bars to round out its selection.
Bright Work Metal Polish: Best in the Business
The search for the best aircraft metal polish may bring customers to yet another quality aircraft polish manufacturer, Bright Work. Bright Work polish has been on the market since the mid 2000’s. The company started out as a producer of automotive polishes, but now has an excellent line of aviation-approved aircraft metal polishes available at reasonably affordable prices.
Unlike Nuvite, Bright Work is not experiencing any production delays and is a competent match for Nuvite quality. In fact, studies have shown that Bright Work polishes perform just as well as Nuvite polishes.
In comparison to Jet Stream, Bright Work also has a number of significant advantages. Mainly, Bright work customers get the advantage of free UPS ground shipping and a simplified system of polishes that clean, buff and shine to a quality mirror image without breaking the bank. Using just three polishes, categorized as red, white and blue, technicians can achieve a quality bright work shine that lasts and meets aviation standards time and time again.
Choosing the Best Aviation Polish
While some may deem the maintenance of the exterior of an aircraft a purely cosmetic endeavor, the actual truth is that keeping up the bright work is just as important as managing repairs or keeping avionics systems modernized and up-to-date.
A plane goes through a number of challenging conditions while in service, from extreme heat and cold, to rain, sleet and even snow. These changes can lead to heavy oxidation which can build up on the plane’s exterior or cause cracks, scratches and fissures that may interfere with a plane’s overall safety and operability. That’s why maintaining the exterior with a top quality aircraft metal polish is of utmost importance.
While there are a number of well-known names in the aircraft metal polish industry to choose from, the best is a simple system of above age performers from one company that stands out from the rest. That company is Bright Work. Make sure you choose the best polishing products for your aircraft and look to Bright Work for the best quality job at affordable prices.