Tips for Cleaning and Conditioning Aircraft Leather

Cleaning and Conditioning Aircraft Leather

Here are a few steps to cleaning and conditioning aircraft leather in order to keep it at a high quality.

Protect your aircraft leather with these easy steps:
1. Buy a quality leather conditioner and cleaner.You will want cleaner and conditioner that protects against harmful UV rays. The leather on your seat is often under constant attack from UV rays that can damage the leather if left untreated for too long. UV rays are what give you sunburn, and essentially the same thing happens to your leather seat while you are flying. Prolonged UV damage will result in cracking and fading. Remember that leather was once a living thing, so protecting it from sun damage is very important to keep its integrity secure. You will need a conditioner that essentially acts as sunscreen for your leather. This is crucial to preserving a quality leather seat and interior, and preventing the leather from losing value quickly and easily. We recommend Perrone Aircraft Cleaner and Conditioner.

2. Clean spills quickly. Do not let your leather become wet for any extended period of time. The water will seep into leather slowly and sit on the surface, which will lead to damage if left for too long. Prevent water damage such as swelling and fading by promptly drying the surface of aircraft leather so that no water can compromise its structure in any way.

3. Get yourself a sturdy brush to grind out tough stains. A good brush can be hard to find, but in order to effectively scrub out deeply ingrained stains in the pores of aircraft leather, you will need a brush that has strong enough fibers to dig deep into the contours of leather. A brush with a strong handle is preferred as well. For example, a brush with a wooden back is easy to handle and used to scrub into the root of the stain in your leather.

4. Get the right cleaning agent for what you need. If your leather seat has ink blotches, you will need a different cleaner to quickly and effectively clean your seat than if you had the beginnings of simple wear and tear. A conditioner may be used to combat further normal sun damage, but it will not necessarily get rid of that ink stain. There are many cleaning products made especially for the purpose of removing ink from leather. Know specifically what you typically clean off of your leather, and find the appropriate product aimed at solving your unique problem. Perrone also makes a great ink stain remover. Just be sure to get to the stain quickly before it sinks deeper into the top-coat.

By using these simple tips, your aircraft leather seat will look as good as new and will resist future damage. Proper regular care is the main important tip. Keeping your aircraft leather in good condition only requires a few moments of diligence every day. With these tips, your leather will shine for a long time.

4 Steps to Dry Wash Aircraft

4 Steps to Dry Wash Aircraft

Dry Washing aircraft refers to the cleaning of easily noticeable bugs, carbon stains, oil stains etc. off of the exterior.  All blemishes should be removed with relative ease by hand by using our cleaners and clean terry towels. This service will also include wiping down the windshield with Plexi-clear to free it of bugs etc. 

Materials needed for Dry Washing Aircraft are:

  • Ladders & Small Step Stool (Vary Depending on size of aircraft)
  • Powerfoam
  • 3M Masking Tape

– Terry towels

  • Plexi-clear Plexiglass cleaner
  • Micro-fiber cloths
  • Degreaser Spray Bottle (one oz. Spray Nine Earth Soap and then filled with water.)

Procedure:

Step 1: Setup:

a.) Tape Static Ports:  Cover all static ports with small piece of 3M Tape so no products will enter. The static ports are generally located along the sides of the fuselage. (Ask your crew chief to help you locate them/ check aircraft layout page)

b.) Dust paint before proceeding (Onlly necessary

Step 2:  Dry Wash/ Wipe Down Exterior:

a.) Select a Panel: Look for bugs, dirt, grease, exhaust stains, and any other blemishes that can be easily removed from the surface of aircraft. Be sure to look at belly as this is where most grease and buildup happens. *It’s best to start cleaning at the nose of aircraft and work your way backwards down the fuselage. Polish the wings after you finish the fuselage. You may need to stand on the inner-wing to polish areas on top of the fuselage.

b.) Spray and Clean: Hold Powerfoam 8 inches from surface and spray until foam covers the affected area. Then Take clean terry towel cloth and rub into Powerfoam with fingers to agitate the bugs, grease, dirt, etc off the dirty paint. Once area is cleaned, wipe surface with a clean terry towel to remove streaks etc..

c.) Check and Continue: Check over your now clean paint and check for streaks, more bugs etc. then continue to next area of affected paint. Continue this process over every affected area of the exterior.

Step 3: Wipedown Windows & Brightwork:

a.) Clean Windows/Windshield: Wipe off windshield & windows by spraying them down with Plexi-clear. Completely cover the area of windshield that you’re cleaning. Once covered, take a clean terry towel cloth and swipe the surface clean. Once Plexi-clear is fully cleared off the surface, take a clean micro-fiber and wipe surface down to remove streaks etc. Be sure to look at work once finished to make sure there’s no streaks, especially on the windshield.

  1. Wipe Bright Work Clean (if not polishing): The same procedure can be used to clean bugs off the bright work: Spray them with Plexi-clear and wipe clean and dry with a terry towel.

Step 4: Wrap It Up:

a.) Remove Tape: Remove ALL Tape from Static Ports and Edges of Paint that you were working on.

b.) Check work AGAIN: Check over work for streaks, missed areas, etc.

c.) Clean Up: Put dirty rags in correct bins, throw away trash & gloves etc.

**FOR TOUGH BELLY GREASE: 

(USUALLY FOUND ON G.A. AIRCRAFT; NOT USED ON CORPORATE JETS)

Step 1. To remove very tough belly grease sometime Powerfoam doesn’t cut it. Using Spray Nine’s Earth Soap fill the pump spray bottle with 1 oz. Earth Soap and the rest with water. (preferrably warm/hot)

Step 2: Spray Earth Soap mixture onto scrubbing sponge and start to scrub and agitate the grease off of belly one section at a time.

Step 3: Once grease begins to come up, wipe clean with terry or micro fiber  towel.

Step 4: Repeat this process over the tough grease areas.

How to Machine Polish Aircraft Paint

How to Machine Polish Aircraft Paint

Machine Buffing the Exterior Paint refers to the application and machine polishing of a heavy compounding wax off of the aircraft’s paint. Machine polishing is needed for deeply oxidized and faded paint and will restore its life and Appearance. 

Materials Needed: 

– A Makita 9720 Polishing Machine

– Makita Hook and Loop Velcro back compounding pad

– Supreme Glaze

– Spray Bottle of Water

– A few clean terry towels

– A cleaning spur for buffing pad

Procedure:

Step 1: Setup:

a.) Static Ports: Cover all static ports with small piece of 3M Tape so no products will enter. (Ask your crew chief to help you locate them if you can’t find them)

b.) Other Spots to Tape: If working on aircraft with bright work or de-ice boots you may want to tape of the area of paint that you are about to polish so that no wax gets on the paint during this process.

Step 2: Apply Polish:

a.) Select Panel: Locate a approximately 4×4 ft. area on the paint to work on.

*It’s best to start at the nose of aircraft and work your way backwards down the fuselage. Polish the wings after you finish the fuselage as you may need to stand on the inner- wing to polish areas on top of the aircraft.

b.) Moisten Terry Towel: Using the Water Spray Bottle, spray a small amount of water to moisten the terry towel. (The moisture helps spread the wax more evenly over the surface of the paint.)

c.) Apply Polish: Apply a quarter-sized amount of Supreme Glaze to moist terry towel and apply thinly and evenly your selected section of paint.

Step 3: Machine Polish Paint:

a.) Machine Polish Paint: While Supreme Glaze is still fresh on the surface, turn on your Makita 9720 Polisher and slowly buff up and down the freshly waxed area in a routine fashion.

* BE CAREFUL NOT TO LEAN INTO PAINT TOO MUCH WHEN USING MACHINE BUFFER. THIS CAN RESULT IN BURNING THE PAINT.

b.) Clean Pad: Every 2-3 minutes use the cleaning spur to remove the wax buildup from the pad. Do this by running the spur through the polisher’s pad  while running the buffer.

c.) Check Work: Once section of the paint has been machine polished and wax has been removed check over the panel for streaks or leftover polish. If necessary, Use a clean micro fiber cloth and go over section you just polished looking for streaks and wax left on paint.

Step 4: Repeat Steps 2 &3

Step 5: Wrap Up:

a.) Remove Tape: Remove ALL Tape from Static Ports and Edges of Paint that you were working on.

b.) Check work AGAIN: Check over work for streaks, missed areas, etc.

  1. Clean Up: Put dirty rags in correct bins, throw away trash & gloves etc.

5 Steps to Cleaning Aircraft Windows

Windows on aircraft are extremely sensitive and easy to damage, not too mention expensive to fix or replace. This is why its extremely important to take all the necessary precautions when cleaning aircraft windows. If you’re in the habit of cleaning your aircraft windows yourself we’ve put together a list of 5 steps to help you do it effectively.

Step 1. Equipement: There isnt much equipment besides a cloth and a cleaning agent. However its important to pick the right ones. Good cloths to use include cheesecloth, microfiber towels, 100% cotton flannel or a chamois. Its very important that whatever cloth you use is completely free of dirt or debris before touching the surface of the window. Our preferred cleaning agents are Plexiclear, Plexus, or Novus aircraft polish

Step 2. Precautions: Its a good idea to take off any belt, rings, or watches when cleaning the aircraft windows. A simple graze could cause a major scratch in the window’s acrylic. Just do it, its much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your aircraft.

Step 3. Rinse: Rinse the window with water first to remove any dirt or debris. You dont want to start polishing and grind leftover grains of sand deeper into the aircraft window. Its very important all surfaces are clean and clear before polishing.

Step 4. Polish: Using the approved cloths liberally apply the window cleaner to the window.  Let it sit for a moment and do not rub.  Give the cleaner time to work. If there’s bugs not coming off take the time to attend each one with the clean cloth. Then, with bare hand, go over the surface to feel and remove abrasive grit, taking care not to scratch the acrylic.

Step 5. Rinse and Dry: Now that the surface is clean you can choose to rinse with water again if you wish. Some cleaners dont suggest this so read the directional labeling on your product ahead of time. Then take another clean, dry microfiber or cheesecloth and wipe the surface dry.

3 Ways that aircraft paint becomes oxidized

3 Ways that aircraft paint becomes oxidized

Oxidized paint is the number one reason that most aircraft get repainted. And, if you’ve ever repainted a plane before, you know that it can be extremely expensive. There are many ways to prevent oxidizing including regular waxing, keeping a cover on your plane, or ideally keeping it in a hanger. However you must first understand the reasons for oxidation:

1. The Sun: The sun’s powerful UV rays have a profound effect on the aircrafts paint. If you’ve ever removed stickers or decals from your aircraft you’ll quickly see how the paint can get faded from its original color. The Sun’s UV rays cut through the top coat of the paint and make it faded and chalky. This is obviously especially prevelent in sunny areas like Florida or California.

2. Salt: Flying near the ocean means that your aircraft will be in constant contact with salt from the ocean. Salt is extremely corrosive and requires regular cleaning to keep it off. Obviously this is not a problem if you dont live near the ocean however if you do you need to be aware of the damage it can cause. Regularly wash your aircraft to get rid of the salt.

3. Acid Rain: Acid rain is typically not a geographic problem. Acid rain can hit any plane and do serious damage to the tough exterior paint. Acid rain is similar to salt in the that best thing you can do is keep the plane washed and waxed regularly. Also not having your plane on a tie-down outside will obviously limit the exposure to acid rain.