Top 3 Fall and Winter Cleaning Tips for Your Aircraft
This is a post by guest author Stephen Clark, marketing manager of Immaculate Flight, LLC. Stephen was asked to contribute to this blog because of his expertise in aircraft cleaning. Any thoughts expressed below are entirely Stephen’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc.
If you’ve peered out your cockpit windows recently, you might have noticed trees and hillsides are starting to take on the colors of fall, and winter will be fast approaching. And while the cascade of yellow and orange provides a stunning backdrop to our flying adventures, Mother Nature is once again getting ready to remind us just how powerful she really is!
But before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s no better time than now to get ready for the busy fall and winter season that always promises a full helping of business trips with a side of holiday parties that can take you from sunny beaches to snow-covered peaks all in the same work week! To get you ready, take a look at our top three fall cleaning tips for your aircraft:
1. Prepare for flu season
It goes without saying that the one downside of the fall and winter season is that the flu makes its nasty return.While many of us get vaccinated or swear by a regimen of diet-exercise-sleep-repeat, many of us will unfortunately still come down with the aches and pains of the flu. To make matters worse, aircraft are perfect hosts to all sorts of different bacteria – especially if your aircraft makes transcontinental visits.
Because it may be rude to directly force your passengers to wash their hands before boarding the aircraft (or perhaps – like a flight attendant friend of mine – putting a little bottle of hand sanitizer at each seat as a reminder), most of us will have to resort to a good routine of using sanitizing products on board the aircraft after each flight.
It’s worth noting that although developing a full health and sanitization program for your aircraft is a great idea (especially if you maintain a fleet), most of us can get by with simply stocking our aircraft with bleach wipes and small cans of disinfectant spray.
After every flight, all hard (non-porous) surfaces should be wiped down, with special attention paid to seat controls, window shades and handles found around the cabin. After you’ve completed the wipe-down, a quick use of your disinfectant spray should do the trick to handle any airborne “threats.”
Bonus tip: Use the disinfectant spray while air is circulating through the cabin.This ensures the spray gets through the entire vent system as well!
2. Get a small rollup carpet
Fixed-Base Operators have long laid out luxurious red carpets at the bottoms of stairs upon arrival; however, if you just watched a mini-flood sweep over the ramp, the carpet’s benefit may have been swept away, too. Instead, buy a small, inexpensive rollup carpet that can be placed at the top of your steps (or under your own wing). That way, whenever there is inclement weather, all you have to do is pull out the carpet to dry your shoes a bit before entering the cabin.
Not only will this keep water and dirt from getting on your carpet (thus saving you the cost of frequent carpet cleanings), after using it, you can just roll it back up and place it in the cabin for the next time you’re boarding in nasty weather!
3. Plan frequent cleanings
Let’s face it, especially during fall and winter, your aircraft is probably going to see many different climates. Worse yet, as winter approaches, your aircraft will begin to encounter deicing fluids and salts, as well as the host of chemicals airports use to ensure safe operations. One way to combat the damaging effects that these chemicals have on your aircraft’s surfaces is to have a plan in place to have your aircraft cleaned more frequently.
If you clean your aircraft yourself, set aside enough time to do a full exterior wash at least once a month. Such a wash ensures any built-up chemicals are removed from flap tracks and landing gear areas before those chemicals have a chance to corrode surfaces. From there, plan to do a basic wipe-down several times a month to address any fluid streaks and general dirt and grime that may accumulate between your full cleaning. If you can do a basic cleaning after every flight, that’s even better, but, if not, regular wipe-downs will help fend off much of the accumulation and make a full cleaning that much easier.
On the other hand, if you fly often or maintain a large fleet and utilize vendors to handle most of your cleaning tasks, this is a great time to see if they have discounted or even flat rates for cleaning services. If you already know you’ll need a few cleanings a month, why not save money and have a predictable bill every month?
Fall and winter are beautiful times to visit friends and family around the world. And while you’re more than ready to go, be sure to take a few moments to get your aircraft ready, too. Doing so may save you time and money, both of which are better spent on your loved ones!
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