The Case For Flight Schools In 2020 To Operate Clean Aircraft



With the current situation of COVID-19, awareness for disinfecting and sanitising aircraft cockpits has never been so apparent. Many training aircraft are used by seven or more students each day alone which creates an excellent environment for many germs and bacteria to grow and thrive. Also, it's common to see training aircraft that aren't looked after with deteriorating paint, scratched windshields, and an underbelly covered in oil from hours and hours of operation. A dirty plane will not only make the student question if the aircraft is maintained correctly but also how comfortable they are because of sticky controls and a smelly cabin. In this article, I discuss the reasons why flight schools need to consider cleaning their aircraft as part of preventative maintenance and flight safety.

If you're a car owner, you probably have given your car a vacuum at the very least every couple of weeks to get rid of general dirt and debris from regular use. Now imagine this, several different people are renting your vehicle for numerous hours every day. Just think about the amount of dirt, sweat, make-up and oils that would be collected from a single day of use alone; this is precisely how training aircraft are operated. If you're about to hire a plane, would you expect to have at the very least a clean cockpit that doesn't smell bad? Of course, do you think flight schools even simply vacuum the aircraft after a few days of flying? The typical answer is, unfortunately, no. By leaving a plane in such an unclean state, you could be making your client feel uncomfortable while flying because interior surfaces feel sticky, the cabin has a bad odour and windshields are covered in dead bugs. It's not only this, but you could be losing valuable business because clients won't pay to hire your aircraft and create a bad reputation for your flight school.

To avoid these mistakes, flight schools should implement a regular and straightforward cleaning regime for their fleet. Depending on the equipment available, it could include a wash and underbelly degrease, a thorough vacuum, and disinfectant wipe down on all interior surfaces and windows cleaned both inside and out.


It Comes Down to Safety

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) stipulates that damaged windshields can create a safety risk as it "can cause visual distortion or undue sun glare for the pilot". A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report titled, "Natural Sunlight and its Association to Aviation Accidents: Frequency and Prevention" highlight the facts relating to the many accidents, over a ten year period, that were associated with glare from natural sunlight. This includes those accidents that resulted from a "compromised windscreen". In several of the accidents, the glare effects were exacerbated due to neglected windscreens (dirty, scratched, crazing and pitted), which further scattered the sunlight. This report demonstrates the importance of aircraft windscreens to be cleaned thoroughly and correctly in the interests of safety. I highly recommend flights schools to clean the windshield's of aircraft twice a day at a minimum to remove bugs and dirt that has accumulated throughout the days flying. If the windshields aren't cleaned regularly, you could be putting people at risk.

The Real Cost

As for all businesses, operating costs and profits are essential for its success and longevity. If a flight school is to run a fleet of aircraft that aren't being cleaned and looked after, you are potentially throwing away tens of thousands of dollars. Consider this; for a small single-engine plane, you could quite easily spend anywhere from twenty to forty thousand dollars on repainting it. I don't know about you, but if I owned a fleet of aircraft and have to repaint them at least every ten years, I wouldn't want to be paying potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars when I don't have to!

Once you've considered this, would you rather spend a few thousand dollars a year maintaining, protecting and preserving your fleet or spend tens of thousands in the future? I know which one I'd choose! You can find even more information on the reasons why, as a flight school, you need to consider cleaning your aircraft more often here.

You Have Two Choices

As a flight school, you only have two options to clean your aircraft. You can either allocate ground crew, flight instructors or students to clean the plane and risk them damaging the aircraft using incorrect procedures and products. Or you can use a professional aircraft cleaning business to take the stress and worry out of the process. The key to looking after your fleet is mainly to protect and maintain. Simply, this means shielding the aircraft's surfaces from the elements and regular wear and tear. 

If you want to take the pain out of looking after your fleet of aircraft, look no further than Guest Aircraft Cleaning. I've turned my passion for aviation into a business and specialise in aircraft detailing. I serve an extensive client base, and I have worked with many flights schools around New South Wales. Please get in touch today to learn more!

Questions?

If you have any questions about this article, contact me at jack.guest@guestaircraftcleaning.com.au


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