An Aircraft Detailer’s Dream – No Bug Stick Wings

It seems like a thousand years ago when I started my first real business washing aircraft at age 12. It turned out to be a very astute business decision in hindsight. Still, as a 12-year old it was really hard work, and I can remember scrubbing the bugs off the leading edge and wings of small light aircraft and business jets. Then I’d have to wax them really good to help me get the new bugs off next time I washed the same aircraft.

That was then, and this is now and there may be relief on the way for future young aircraft cleaners. Let’s talk, let’s discuss some new future technologies in Aerospace.

There is a great video on YouTube talking about NASA wing research for modern aircraft. The title of the video is: “The Super-Efficient Future of Air Travel” and it is well worth watching. Fast forward the video to: 16:00 on the video.

This video discusses the drag, both induced drag and parasitic drag, from dead bugs and how this affects a wing’s performance, which is another reason why aircraft detailers are constantly washing and waxing the wings of aircraft.

Now then, just imagine in the future specialized coatings that prevent dead bugs (smushed ones) from sticking – wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing, yes, I agree totally. Wow, looking back, all I can say is; I sure wish they had such coatings back then, I’d have certainly saved myself so work, or would I have — maybe not, because if those coatings existed my aircraft washing, cleaning and detailing services may not have been needed.

Well, either way, these new technologies will be a complete game-changer for the Aircraft Detailing Industry, much like no-stick Teflon pans changed things for cooking bacon and eggs. Material Science has come a long way, and it is amazing just how much it will reshape the world we live in the future, even for those sub-sectors of our economy, things like aircraft washing and cleaning.

Sometimes I feel as if our industry doesn’t stay up on all the new technologies that affect us, and yes, it is a relatively simple business sector to participate in, nevertheless a prudent operator or owner of such a business needs to stay up with the leading edge of aerospace tech to stay ahead of the competition, thus, I thought you might like to hear about this. After all, we don’t want any of our workers getting carpal tunnel while scrubbing off all those obliterated and baked on bugs do we? Please consider all this and think on it.

Choosing the Right Mechanic for Your Aircraft

We all know that taking care of the mechanical health of your aircraft is step one in safety, but how do you know which type of airplane mechanic should work on your plane? Here’s a general overview of the types of aviation mechanics, according to FAA Safety Briefing, the FAA’s publication on GA news and information.

Choosing the type of airplane mechanic usually is connected to the work your aircraft needs. But often, you won’t know until the problem is diagnosed.

There are generally three types of airplane maintenance mechanics: airframe and powerplant mechanic (A&P), an inspection authorization endorsed mechanic (IA), or an FAA certificated repair station. Here’s an overview of who to go to and for what.

For general maintenance: Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (A&P)

A&Ps, also known as aviation maintenance technicians, are usually called upon for routine aircraft maintenance, such as examining engines, conducting 100-hour inspections, replacing and repairing defective parts, repairing minor structural damage, and keeping corrosion under control.

To become a certificated A&P aircraft mechanic (14 CFR part 65), a person must be at least 18 years old, read, write, and speak English, and acquire 18 months of practical experience for either airframe or powerplant certification, or 30 months of practical experience concurrently for both airframe and powerplant.

One can also complete the training by attending an accredited part 147 maintenance school. Following training, the student must pass three tests – written, oral and practical – to become certified.

For aircraft inspections: Inspection Authorization Mechanic (IA)

An IA is essentially an FAA-licensed A&P mechanic with the additional endorsement of “inspection authority” issued on a FAA Form 8310-5 (IA card). As such, IAs are authorized to do progressive and annual aircraft inspections, in addition to a variety of maintenance and alterations than non-authorized A&Ps. The benefit of this is you can get your repair work done and sign-off paperwork done at the same time, saving time and money.

In addition to inspections, IAs can also sign for an aircraft’s return back to service after major repairs (Form 337), such as the repair or replacement of major control surfaces, spars, wing and tail surface brace struts, axle replacements, and major repairs to the powerplant.

To earn an IA designation, an A&P mechanic must train an additional three years (two years active), have available equipment and a fixed base of operations, pass an inspection-specific written test, and meet the requirements in 14 CFR part 65.91.

For large repairs: Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Station (MRO)

If your aircraft is ever in need of major repairs on complex components, such as retractable landing gear assemblies, reciprocating and turbine engines, and auxiliary power units, the smart move may be an Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Station (MRO), aka a repair station.

A good repair station with certified, experienced mechanics will have the specialized equipment and authorizations needed for complex repairs, such as avionics and electronics overhauls, mechanical actuators, fuel systems, and carburetors. Keep in mind that different stations might specialize in areas of aircraft maintenance, but all must adhere to the regulations and policies laid out in 14 CFR part 145.

To obtain a repair station certification, an applicant must successfully complete a five-stage process: pre-application, the formal application, document compliance, demonstration and inspection, and certification.

Reference:

http://www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing/

An Aircraft Detailer’s Dream – No Bug Stick Wings

It seems like a thousand years ago when I started my first real business washing aircraft at age 12. It turned out to be a very astute business decision in hindsight. Still, as a 12-year old it was really hard work, and I can remember scrubbing the bugs off the leading edge and wings of small light aircraft and business jets. Then I’d have to wax them really good to help me get the new bugs off next time I washed the same aircraft.

That was then, and this is now and there may be relief on the way for future young aircraft cleaners. Let’s talk, let’s discuss some new future technologies in Aerospace.

There is a great video on YouTube talking about NASA wing research for modern aircraft. The title of the video is: “The Super-Efficient Future of Air Travel” and it is well worth watching. Fast forward the video to: 16:00 on the video.

This video discusses the drag, both induced drag and parasitic drag, from dead bugs and how this affects a wing’s performance, which is another reason why aircraft detailers are constantly washing and waxing the wings of aircraft.

Now then, just imagine in the future specialized coatings that prevent dead bugs (smushed ones) from sticking – wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing, yes, I agree totally. Wow, looking back, all I can say is; I sure wish they had such coatings back then, I’d have certainly saved myself so work, or would I have — maybe not, because if those coatings existed my aircraft washing, cleaning and detailing services may not have been needed.

Well, either way, these new technologies will be a complete game-changer for the Aircraft Detailing Industry, much like no-stick Teflon pans changed things for cooking bacon and eggs. Material Science has come a long way, and it is amazing just how much it will reshape the world we live in the future, even for those sub-sectors of our economy, things like aircraft washing and cleaning.

Sometimes I feel as if our industry doesn’t stay up on all the new technologies that affect us, and yes, it is a relatively simple business sector to participate in, nevertheless a prudent operator or owner of such a business needs to stay up with the leading edge of aerospace tech to stay ahead of the competition, thus, I thought you might like to hear about this. After all, we don’t want any of our workers getting carpal tunnel while scrubbing off all those obliterated and baked on bugs do we? Please consider all this and think on it.

Aircraft Management Services – You Need the Best

Not all aircraft management services are alike. While most will offer the basic services you will need, there are those who go a bit above and beyond the basics. Before deciding which company to use, find out all you can about them–and if they are able to provide what you want, instead of you having to settle for the standard services they offer. Remember, you have choices. And it is important to explore all of them before signing any agreements.

Things to Keep in Mind as You Search for an Aircraft Management Company

* How long has the company been in business? Startup companies can give you good rates, but they won’t have the experience you may require.

* What services other than the basics do they offer? Some extras will cost a bit more, but if they are important to you to have, it will be a good investment. Aircraft ownership is not inexpensive, to say the least, and pinching pennies when it comes to upkeep and other services makes no sense. Of course, you do want to make sure you are getting a fair rate.

* Make a list of the services and options you would like to have, along with a list of what you will not do without. This can help you narrow down the possibilities when deciding which company to use for your aircraft management needs.

* What are the qualifications of the staff they employ? All employees involved with your plane should be certified for whatever job it is they hold. Any company with less than complete professionals on their staff should not be used.

* What is their safety record? This is important, since the better the safety record, the safer your aircraft will be. Do a little digging and you will not regret it.

For the most part, the companies you are considering should have a record of their current and past clients, and what they have to say about the company in question. Ask for referrals before making your decision to be sure you will have the best experience possible.

Facilities and Services to Consider When Making Your Decision

* Heated hangar space

* Insurance against accident or other problems which may occur at competitive rates

* Supplemental or regular staffing availability such as flight crew that are fully trained and rated

* Dispatch services and flight schedule access for aircraft owners

There may be cases where you will want to make your aircraft available for charter services through the management company. Full accounting disclosure and the highest rate for aircraft owners would be necessary to look for in this endeavor. Choosing an aircraft management service that has fully qualified pilots and flight teams to run the charter flight can actually help to defray the costs of ownership of the aircraft.

Since the aircraft itself can be such a large initial investment, it only makes sense to protect that investment with the right aircraft management services for your needs. The corporate owned services may seem like the best option, but for flexibility in working with plane owners, a smaller, dependable company is the best bet.

Everything You Need to Know About Commercial Aircraft Passenger Services

Most large commercial airports deal with numerous challenges each day. Besides the runway traffic, efficient passenger traffic remains one of the major concerns. Commercial carriers need to handle their passenger traffic flow efficiently and economically. Typically, aircraft passenger services are offered either by commercial airlines directly or by airport management companies which work at an airport. In this post, we will examine more detail to understand these services better.

The basics

The process of check-in to departure at a commercial airport has evolved for every passenger and crewmember. Ensuring smooth coordination in this process is extremely critical, not only for the customers but also to allow airport and airline personnel to perform their essential duties. Commercial carriers coordinate with airport management staff and other service providers to streamline passenger flow. These services include:

– Keeping track and maintaining a flow of check-ins, arrivals, and departures. Besides check-ins, such services also include assistance for cancellations and changes in itineraries.

– Support crew and passengers for boarding and de-planning (if required).

– Assuring special help and support for disabled passengers.

– Helping minors, who are unaccompanied by adults or guardians

– Monitoring departure control systems

– Core services required by travelers, such as ticketing and sales at an airport.

– Offering additional assistance for other areas, such as charges for extra baggage.

– Arrival baggage services.

– Special services related to lost baggage.

– Assistance that might be needed additionally by customers in certain situations.

Aircraft passenger services are extremely relevant and necessary for smooth commercial airport operations.

Finding a service provider

The passenger service experience defines and determines the brands of commercial carriers, airport sponsors and management, and other stakeholders, and it’s important to choose an airport management company that understands the complicities and demands of this industry. If you need a professional management company or other on-airport service provider, you should diligence two areas:

1. First, the company should be experienced and must have the infrastructure and capabilities to handle the projects assigned to them. The professional service provider should be able to document a strong track record of proven results and offer references from this experience history.

2. Also, you should review the specific experience of the concerned company. Keep in mind that the concept of professional airport management is different in various parts of the world. Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) serving in this role are more customary in North America and Europe, while other geographical areas use different structures.

Passengers remain the lifeline of the aviation industry, and commercial service providers and airlines have to ensure efficient, value-based services for them. This also ensures smooth and efficient passenger flow at commercial airports.

Starting an Aircraft Washing Business

So you love airplanes and you want to start an aircraft washing service? I cannot blame you, as I did the same thing. After cleaning Thousands of aircraft over the years, I have paid for my flight school, first aircraft and then started an aircraft washing franchise as a module of another franchising company I had founded. Named the Aircraft Wash Guys we learned early on what it takes to satisfy aircraft owners, FBOs Fixed Based Operators and Chief Pilots. We always specialized in washing and polishing aircraft. We’ve cleaned thousands of private planes, corporate jets, flying clubs, flight schools and helicopters. My Car Wash Guys company was originally founded over twenty years ago and started as an aircraft washing service.

As you know, aviation people are serious about flying and a clean plane makes flying more fun and enjoyable. Corporate Aviators need you to maintain their positive image. When in the aircraft washing business you will not only wash exteriors of planes, you must also have carpet-cleaning capabilities. Many of our crewmembers are also private pilots and it pays to have pilots as part of your employee team. To learn more about aircraft washing, I have put some additional ideas online to assist you.

http://www.Aircraftwashguys.com/aircraftbbs

We have always kept our prices low and gone for volume, you may wish to do this or charge the going rate. Our rates are at the lower end of the spectrum and this will give you a good starting point on pricing.

Single Engines $20.00-45.00 wash, waxing $60.00-140.00, weekly wash $20.00;

Twin Engines $45.00-90.00 wash, waxing $90.00-240.00, weekly wash $40.00; Corporate Jets $90.00-140.00 wash, waxing $180.00-400.00, weekly wash $80.00;

Helicopters $30.00-100.00 wash, waxing $45.00-180.00, weekly wash $30.00. Carpet Shampooing, Bright Work and Aluminum Polishing, etc. generally we will give the customers free estimates.

You will need to perform these services the customer’s schedule and usually accommodate, immediate services, day or night, evenings and weekends. Customizing your services with the customer’s requirements must become your specialty. You will also need the following things:

Two Million in Liability Insurance

Quiet Machines and Professional Crews in Uniform

Monthly Invoice by “N”-Number

Water Reclamation Device Onboard, EPA Compliant

Truck or Trailer Mounted Unit, Fully Self Contained, Painted Safety Yellow

Owning an Aircraft Washing Service small business can be quite rewarding and although hard work, it can be an extension of your flying hobby. Just think getting paid to wash some of the latest and greatest aircraft and hanging out at the airport all day? And yes, they will even pay you very well for doing just that. Think on this.

All About FBO and Aircraft Handling Services

The aviation industry is served by many service companies, but Fixed Base Operators or FBOs are of particular importance for private and commercial carriers. In this post, we will talk about FBOs in detail and understand some of their services and roles in the current industry.

The essential services

As the name suggests, FBOs and aircraft handling services offer fixed infrastructure and a wide range of different facilities at an airport. These facilities can be really diverse, from managing terminals and passenger services to immigration, aircraft fueling and maintenance services. The range of services offered by these companies depends largely on the size and location. In places like the Middle East, India and China these services are still developing at a rapid rate, while in Europe and North America FBOs already do prominent jobs at most airports.

Understanding aircraft handling services

Some FBOs do offer aircraft handling services, although such services can be provided by third parties as well. A ground handler usually has a direct license from the airport from which to offer these services. This may include both above and below wing services (discussed further in this post). Airport handling services are critical because these offer help and assistance with ground support equipment. Ground handlers must carry significant liability insurance and must have proper safety training in the field. In most countries they also need additional certification from different authorities.

Above and below wing services

“Above Wing” services are all about assisting the crew and passengers to and from the aircraft. This may include handling passengers at the airport, along with other services like transportation to the aircraft, in-flight catering and managing accommodation at hotels if needed. FBOs also manage concierge services to serve the passenger requirements of those using private aircraft. On the other hand, “Below Wing” services involve actual ground handling work, including baggage handling, towing, and coordinating with other parties for fueling, hangar and other services. Many of the companies also offer additional essential services, such as the supply of certain equipment such as tugs, ground power units and other equipment.

Other important areas

If you are a private aircraft owner and require FBO services, you need to find a company that has extensive experience in the field. You need to know the depth of experience they have providing FBO services and their current capabilities and capacities. For FBO services, it’s important to have a company that specializes in the field and has worked at major airports in America. You might also want to know their experience in the international arena, especially when you need to specifically plan for international operations.

Over the years, the demand for FBOs has increased considerably, although the roles can differ in different countries. These companies perform the technical requirements and handle other issues at major airports and streamline the work in a professional way, both for flight crews and passengers. Some of the FBOs even work with airport sponsors and other parties to manage and handle specific projects.

10 Tips For Buying Aircraft at an Aircraft Auction

One of the best places to purchase a nearly new, quality aircraft at a price far below retail value is an auction. Often, brand-name and top-quality aircraft (Cessna, Beechcraft, Piper etc) become state or bank

property when their owners are unable to pay debts, and have to be sold fast to avoid substantial storage and maintenance costs. Because of this it is sometimes possible to obtain quality, nearly new aircraft as much as 80-90% off retail price.

Purchasing an airplane is a major investition and should be done with appropriate care. This is especially true if you are an inexperienced and/or first-time buyer. The sums involved are close to what one pays

for a house, so, just as for real estate, getting an expert appraisal is the safest way to go. However, that is rather costly and not everyone feels they want to make that investition, especially when just buying a used light aircraft.

In order to help first-time buyers, I have put together the top 10 things to look out for when purchasing an aircraft at an auction. A lot of them are similar to the recommendations for purchasing a used car, and in fact experienced pilots basically approach aircraft purchases in a similar way. Still, there are a few aircraft-specific points to pay attention to.

10) Get a copy of the FAA Type Certificate for the airplane that interests you. On the Internet you can get one at http://www.faa.gov/aircraft. Here, you will find all the specifications about aircraft–applicable

engines, propellers, gross weight, empty weight, speeds, etc. Also, inform yourself at the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). They have a lot of detailed information, forums, and guides on purchasing used aircraft, all accessible for an annual membership fee of $39.

9) Take a good look at the maintenance history. Regular mechanical checkups should have been made. Pay particular attention to engine hours, equipment, airworthiness directives (ADs), damage history, paint,

and interior. Be sure to ask for the number of prior owners. Several prior owners are likely to indicate prior problems with the aircraft.

8) Ask owners of the aircraft model you’re eyeing about frequent prior defects and things to pay attention to at the preview. This is best done at one of the large net aviation forums like http://www.totalpilot.com or http://www.airplanes.com.

7) If you find a good candidate, it’s time for a thorough visual inspection. Be sure to check struts (are they equally extended?), wings (corrosion, loose rivets), flaps (rust?), ailerons (any abnormal play if you push slightly?), doors and windows (should seal well), propeller (track, cracks?), engine (mounted solidly, any leaks, exhaust system ok?).

6) If possible, have the engine started and check how well it’s running. Any irregularities in the sound? Blue smoke from the exhaust pipe (oil, can mean that the engine is worn)? Excessive white smoke (may mean that coolant is leaking)?

5) When purchasing aircraft at auctions, start by observing. Attend the preview (usually held a while before the auction, and open to the general public). Stay cool during the auction, and decide what you want to bid

beforehand. Never get into a bidding war, it’s a surefire way to buyer’s remorse.

4) Beware of any too-good-to-be-true claims. At an auction, odds are they are just that – not true. Liability for a seller at a public auction is relatively low, and two powerful words – “AS IS” – basically free the seller of any responsibility. It is up to you to pinpoint them on essential statements and be wary of any outrageous promises.

3) Should you win the bid, insist on a written contract, and ask that all important figures and claims are mentioned (e.g. about prior owners or repairs, engine hours, or the timespan until you get the plane). Don’t forget that the price you will pay is usually higher than the winning bid. Most auctions include a 5-10% buyer’s premium.

2) consider purchasing title insurance along with accident and liability coverage. We have just touched the main points of buying a good aircraft, and there are still numerous issues that may remain undiscovered until after the purchase.

1) Do not be too hasty. Looking at some auctioned aircraft, you may get the feeling of a once-in-a-lifetime bargain, but in fact the market is pretty large and great opportunities are around all the time. It is best to observe a few auctions first to get a feel of the process, and only actively start bidding once you have a good idea of the market.

There are several databases of auctioned aircraft online. One of the largest is http://www.seizedaircraft.com, with unlimited access for a one-time annual fee of $19.95.