ua777222 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3348 posts, RR: 12 Posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4766 times:
Ran across this ad from the late 80's where UPS declares that they frequently wash their aircraft to reduce drag which saves on fuel which saves on shipping prices the consumer has to pay.
Are they still of this mindset? Mainstream aircraft obviously have to stay in play to make $$ and often washing is only done during heavy mx, if that, but does UPS have a system in place in maybe Worldport to clean their aircraft as much as they say they do?
atcsundevil From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 797 posts, RR: 2 Reply 1, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4663 times:
Many airlines clean their aircraft more than you'd probably think. Most of it is obviously done at night, probably concurrently with an A check -- so about every month. You can tell which airlines don't keep their airplanes as squeaky clean as others, and it's easy to tell on some paint schemes, white in particular. The easiest to see are the black marks from jetways that form around the front exit or two (depending on the a/c obviously).
It is true that keeping an aircraft clean does reduce drag...however minute it might be, it could save an airline millions. I remember reading an article a couple of years ago about Lufthansa simply running high pressure water through the engines to clean off the dirt once a month or so, and that improved efficiency by something ridiculous like 0.8%, but translated to several million euros in savings. Don't quote me on any specifics of this; I'm just trying to get the general idea across.
As to UPS specifically, I have no idea what kind of washing plan they have...but from a lot of the pics I see on this site, they seem to stay pretty shiny!
AeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20322 posts, RR: 64 Reply 2, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4557 times:
Quoting atcsundevil (Reply 1): I remember reading an article a couple of years ago about Lufthansa simply running high pressure water through the engines to clean off the dirt once a month or so, and that improved efficiency by something ridiculous like 0.8%, but translated to several million euros in savings. Don't quote me on any specifics of this; I'm just trying to get the general idea across.
pilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3117 posts, RR: 11 Reply 9, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3368 times:
There's a lot of truth to that. Even in a 172 that's bugged up you lose a couple knots of airspeed to drag. While a small difference it's just like everything else we do to save a couple hundred pounds over the course of a flight (idle descents, single engine taxis). One flight isn't a big deal but as you look at a fleet of hundreds of aircraft doing 10 flights a day it really adds up into the millions fast.
spacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3365 posts, RR: 13 Reply 10, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3306 times:
Related question: how do you actually wash a 747? (Or any other airliner.) I watched the video linked above but that's just marketing - somehow I have a hard time imagining there are really guys standing on forklifts scrubbing windows individually (reminds me of the movie Airplane). Or am I wrong?
I would think that you could just build a giant pressure washer and run a plane through it for basic monthly washing with no human involvement at all short of hitting the on/off button.
Also, do they recycle the water? I would guess that however you wash an airliner would use a huge amount of water, and I know car washes generally recycle their water.
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Depends on the equipment available at the facility. I've seen some airlines just use cherrypickers or de-icers and run high pressure lines to wash high places. Other airlines will use forklifts and other devices to get in a little closer. Windows get cleaning based on the airline and aircraft type -- the bigguns and flagships (747s, 777s, 340s, 380s, etc) are more likely to get more frequent, detailed washes. The workhorses of the fleet won't usually get the detailed cleanings, like windows, until a B check every few months. C checks and D checks actually carefully examine each window for any chips, cracks, or faults.