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blank 04/10/14 09:48AM Aircraft Cleaning, Aircraft Maintenance

Aircraft Washing - Military Contracts, Washing the Stealth Fighter
Guest Blog

Back in the late 80s my company had a contract to clean aircraft for the United States Air Force. It wasn't a very big contract, as we had larger aircraft cleaning contracts with regional airlines, large corporations and wealthy business owners. But it was rather good for bragging rights as a young man. There are solicitations given out from time to time by various branches of the military that own aircraft which need cleaning because they wish to save labor costs and hire a service vendor contractor.

What kind of airplanes might you clean? Well we were cleaning transport aircraft, nothing special, but there are other solicitations and contracts available. Imagine if you got to clean fighter planes? Wouldn't that be cool?

Okay so, how do you wash a military aircraft, better yet, how do you wash an F-22 Stealth Fighter? Hint: Very Carefully - how, carefully? Very, but why not watch the YouTube video titled; " F-22 Wash And Maintenance," posted by AIRBOYD YouTube Channel on Mar 17, 2014 which states; "Video by Senior Airman Sarah Trachte Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Public Affairs - An F-22 wash and maintenance."

Why not note how carefully they clean the interior of the wheel wheels. Consider washing a regular aircraft or corporate jet, generally you use a bit of pressure and a squirt bottle, not too much, but at least 1200 to 1500 PSI or so. Here in this video, they use a special solution and very low pressure and not much volume either.

Interestingly enough, we were not allowed to use high-pressure hot water inside the wheel wells of military aircraft either, not even back in the late 80s. We were able to use a two inch fire hose under moderate pressure and higher volumes along with a cleaning product called Turco. It did a pretty good job, and cleaned all the hydraulic fluid out, even if it wasn't so glamorous cleaning all that muck.

I did note on the video that it was as if they were cleaning a piece of high-tech equipment, wearing special clothes, safety equipment, and being sure not to break anything or cause any issues with an airplane that cost well over $180 million.

If you own an aircraft cleaning service you may consider getting on the bidder's list for the United States military or with a prime contractor which already has a contract to clean military planes. It might be one more avenue and provide you with steady work throughout the year. Although the military is cutting back and may be slower to pay in the future, they're always going to need contractors do the work, maybe more so in the future as they cut more personnel. Please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new series of eBooks on the Aircraft Cleaning and Detailing Business. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a The Aircraft Wash Guys, a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank; http://www.worldthinktank.net.

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