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Why Do Planes Get Dirty?  
User currently offlineBusinessboy From Norway, joined Mar 2004, 211 posts, RR: 1
Posted (9 years 6 months 1 hour ago) and read 12523 times:

Hey guys!
There has always been a certain something on my mind, i have tried to figure out why though only some few things pop into my mind.

Why do plnaes get dirty? The "blackiness" drainage effect under the windows really make the aircrafts look ugly..

Just look at this plane:


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Photo © TTT



Can someone please explain why....

Thanks, BB


LOVE CONTINENTAL AIRLINES & LOVE BRITISH AIRWAYS
24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIberia340600 From Spain, joined Oct 2003, 804 posts, RR: 14
Reply 1, posted (9 years 6 months 1 hour ago) and read 12374 times:

I am not sure but I believe the de-icing solution applied in the winter has a lot to do with it.


Visca Barça!!
User currently offlineJkw777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 6 months 1 hour ago) and read 12338 times:

Weather might have something to do with it?

Think of it as your car.

Cheers,

Justin Big grin


User currently offlineAviastar From Belarus, joined Nov 2000, 280 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (9 years 6 months 1 hour ago) and read 12335 times:

Reversers thrust can be the reason:

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Photo © Florian Trojer - TCAS


See also this interesting shot and the remark of the photographer:

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Photo © Bernd Sturm


Aviastar


User currently offlineMiamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 6 months ago) and read 12211 times:

Grease and oil will happen into the slip stream, and they will trap and keep dirt. Also, dirt will stick to moisture...

User currently offlineEuropean From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 6 months ago) and read 12180 times:

I don't really know, but maybe to do with the rain? Maybe there is something in the rain sometimes like a weak acid? Don't really know????


---------------------------------------

A example of a dirty planes is;


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Photo © Anthony Cheng
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Photo © Sebastian Vermehren



Ryanair i know is proberly caused by the engines!

Euro


User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3697 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (9 years 6 months ago) and read 12039 times:

Ask Air France, they must know  Big grin

That MK Airlines 747 is seriously mucky. From the thumbnail I thought it was a paint scheme!



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineAir2gxs From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 6 months ago) and read 12002 times:

Why does your car get dirty? The same reason airplanes get dirty. Because they are exposed to the elements.

User currently offlineSmAlbany From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 285 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 6 months ago) and read 11959 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.

User currently offlineFJWH From Netherlands, joined May 2004, 968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 11835 times:

How often do planes get cleaned (the outside, on avarage)?





FlightS in the next 3 months: MSP, PHX, MEM, NCE, TFS, BCN. All round trips from AMS
User currently offlineBongo From Colombia, joined Oct 2003, 1863 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 11722 times:

Dust, rain water, ocean salty mist, pollution


MDE: First airport in the Americas visited by the A380!
User currently offlineFlybyguy From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 1798 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 11614 times:

I notice that Air Force One and other head-of-State planes are un-naturally clean. Do they have a hand scrubbing crew?


"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
User currently offlineBongo From Colombia, joined Oct 2003, 1863 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 11581 times:

I notice that Air Force One and other head-of-State planes are un-naturally clean. Do they have a hand scrubbing crew?


Less use, permanent hangars and of course more frequently washed



MDE: First airport in the Americas visited by the A380!
User currently offlineOnlyWay2Fly From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10975 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.


Alas poor Western, I knew them well!
User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4737 posts, RR: 26
Reply 14, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9258 times:
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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.


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Photo © 737doctor



Where does this dirt come from? Well, engine exhaust, APU exhaust, natural crap in the air that is also responsible for making your car dirty, etc...



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinePronto From Canada, joined Mar 2000, 328 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7603 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!!

User currently offlineTW741 From Liechtenstein, joined Sep 2004, 478 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7036 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.

=Tw741=



TWA - we showed you how good we have been!
User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5066 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5297 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.


User currently offlineDIJKKIJK From France, joined Jul 2003, 1745 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5243 times:

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.


Just imagine how much AF must be spending on extra fuel then....



Never argue with idiots. They will bring you down to their level, and beat you with experience.
User currently offlineZrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3010 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5222 times:

The same reason that cars, dogs, cats, people, etc. get dirty. They are exposed to the elements.


14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
User currently offlineAlitaliaMD11 From Spain, joined Dec 2003, 4068 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5190 times:

Hey

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.



No Vueling No Party
User currently offlineInnocuousFox From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2805 posts, RR: 15
Reply 21, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5013 times:

"Why do planes get dirty?"

Where do you think all the little planes come from... a cabbage patch?



Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
User currently offlinePaul777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4793 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!

User currently offlineMatthewkh From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 72 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4706 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.



God I love the smell of avgas in the morning!!!
User currently offlineGreasespot From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 3076 posts, RR: 21
Reply 24, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4648 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.

GS



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?"
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