SmAlbany From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 286 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 12927 times:
Air is dirtier than you realize. Particles are in the air from both pollution and from dirt picked up by the wind. It collects on aircraft (and everything else for that matter). It concetrates under the windows due to water runoff patterns.
OnlyWay2Fly From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 11943 times:
I have a magazine from the early/mid 1970's. Has a great article about the TWA MX base at LAX and has photos and description of how aircraft on overnight layover always get washed before their morning flights. Times sure have changed.
Silver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4897 posts, RR: 25
Reply 14, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 10226 times:
If you stand close to an aircraft, you will see the outside "skin" of the aircraft is not smooth over the entire surface. Especially around the windows, there are panels that appear to be layered. Sorry for lacking the technical terminology. Anyway, the point is, there are many surfaces, or areas that could easily trap dirt.
This pic somewhat captures what I am talking about. Look closely around the windows and you will see what I am talking about. I would think that would be a prime reason you see streaks unders and around windows of aircraft. Easy places for dirt to collect.
Pronto From Canada, joined Mar 2000, 328 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8571 times:
Obvious reasons comparable to what gets your car dirty. Plus, there is exhaust, toilets, jetways - the list goes on. Also, just a note about aircraft like the VC-25s - Yes, they are probably cleaned immaculately on a regular basis - when I was driving a general, I was cleaning that vehicle every day!!
TW741 From Liechtenstein, joined Sep 2004, 478 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 8004 times:
Dirt is in the air, dirt is everywhere. Especially in humid environment like clouds.
It is not like dust, actually it is rather greasy. Areas being very dirty: everything behind the engines (especially with the DC9's and 727's and all other acft with rear mounted engines) you could see the oily-greasy dirt very good, followed by the window areas, doors (pax+cargo). Most difficult cleaning is the nose/cockpit area plus the front sides of the wings, engine intakes - because of the insects sticking like hell to these parts.
The problem with cleaning aircraft is - it is mostly done manually. LH started in 1996 a fully automated "aircraft washing" but this was not succesful - even with the best programmed robots there where damages to antennas and so on. A pic of the "wash-robot Skywash" can be seen here: http://www.dynajet.de/showpage.php?akleft=1&subakleft=18&site=16&anident=49
Skywash covered almost 85% of the aircrafts surface, remaining 15% had still to be cleaned by hand.
Washing is an integral component for reducing fuel consumption. A "normal-dirty" 747 needs about 1% more fuel over a clean one. And this sums up.
Normally an aircraft should be washed after 45-60 days of operation. In case of areas closer to the sea or flying in dusty environments (volcanic areas) this can go down to 35-40 days. Usually washing is done with maintenance cycles.
Full wash of a 747 requires around 25.000 liters of water plus cleaning material and many many people....
Somewhere in Japan they are working now again with a "robotwash" since a couple of months. Robot-Washing takes about 2-3 hours for about 80% of the aircraft, remainder done again manually.
When you google a little bit with the words "aircraft cleaning" you do get some companies listed and some have pictures showing (small) aircraft cleaned manually.
Ckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5388 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6265 times:
I think planes that fly trans-oceanic routes are cleaned more often than planes that fly overland routes. Exposure to salt air will lead to corrosion.
As for why planes get dirty, think about sitting in a line of aircraft for departures, particulary behind planes with tail-mounted engines (DC-9, MD-80, DC-10, L-1011). Paticles from the exhaust will build up on the exterior skin of the aircraft.
AlitaliaMD11 From Spain, joined Dec 2003, 4068 posts, RR: 13
Reply 20, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6158 times:
To me the Concorde always looked clean. When I got to tuch it, it was very smooth and no dust or dirt came on my hands.
Maybe when there is a lot of rain at an airport and mud flows over from the grass, and the engine blast picks it up and throughs it on the aircraft?
I have seen this happen.
I flew on a AF 744 from CDG-JFK, and we landed on a very unusal runway which was flooded do to the outside weather, I was so suprised that we landed becuase of the amount of rain! When we landed the engines and wheels picked up a lot of mud and through it on my window, as well as the rest of the fusalge.
Paul777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5761 times:
And I was thinking how nice no one had mentioned AF and their dirty planes, and someone did! At least some others were mentioned first. Like someone mentioned in previous threads, as long as they get me where I am going it really does not matter whether the exterior is clean or dirty!
Matthewkh From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 72 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5674 times:
Another thing to consider is the static charge the aircraft builds up while flying. As the aircraft speeds through the atmosphere, it builds up quite a static charge which actually attracts many of the pollutants and dust particles floating around.
As far as cleaning aircraft is concerned, different airlines have different cleaning schedules. Most airlines use a "wet-wash", which is basically a bunch of people pressure washing the aircraft with a light detergent, and agitating the dirt with mop heads placed on top of long poles. This method wastes a lot of water, and is not very environmentally friendly.
Some airlines are, however, switching to a method called "dry-washing". In this method, the aircraft is cleaned by using spray bottles and rags, and a lot of elbow grease. This alleviates all of the environmental concerns, quality of the clean is increased, and many overhead costs are eliminated.
Greasespot From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 3091 posts, RR: 20
Reply 24, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5616 times:
When i school I worked for a company that flew a corporate 727-100. It flew Mon,Wed, and Fri. It got washed Tuesday and Thursday. Where I work now the 737 Halo's( The smudge of soot on the window belt caused by the thrust reversers) get washed 1 a week. The Whole A/c gets washed when it needs it.
Sometimes all you can do is look them in the eye and ask " how much did your mom drink when she was pregnant with you?"