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The Joys Of Skydrol  
User currently offline737doctor From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1332 posts, RR: 35
Posted (14 years 11 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 8135 times:

So the other day I was working wheel well non-routines for twelve hours, up to my elbows in Skydrol, not really enjoying the experience and it got me thinking.

Back in the day (OK, so it wasn't really that long ago) when I worked on DC-8's we took Skydrol baths quite regularly...especially when we had to change an aux pump. We had a running joke about the Eight...if it was leaking Skydrol, everything was OK. When it stopped leaking, you knew that it needed to be serviced.

Skydrol is a necessary evil in the world of aviation. Anyone who has been around for a while has had it in their hair, eyes, mouth, (insert random body part here) and who can forget the first time they forgot to wash the Skydrol off of their hands before visiting the men's room?

I have heard stories from long ago, when Skydrol was first introduced, about a representative who travelled around the country swigging the purple stuff from shot glasses and putting it on salad in order to demonstrate how safe it was...if this is true the guy must be DEAD by now. However, I talked to an old-timer (an ex-Braniff employee) who says that it just isn't true. He claims that a Monsanto rep showed all the mechanics a propaganda film in which some poor soul gets doused with the stuff. Either way, it was a bad idea.

So my point of this post is for you to share your favorite or least favorite Skydrol stories...just keep your castor oil nearby!

Patrick Bateman is my hero.
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineIMissPiedmont From United States of America, joined May 2001, 6544 posts, RR: 29
Reply 1, posted (14 years 11 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 7976 times:

Nothing more fun than getting SkyDrol on you when it is 110 degrees and you pores are all opened up from sweating. I must point out though, that no matter how uncomfortable a full face mask is, it sure beats SkyDrol in the eyes. Won't prevent it 100 % but it helps.

The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
User currently offlineJT-8D From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 423 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (14 years 11 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 7995 times:

Well, I brought up blue water, so I guess skydrol is the next subject. lol. Skydrol was invented by some engineer who lost his wife to an aircraft mechanic. It was his way of getting revenge. We where doing an AVMAR check (tests the anti skid valves and control box) on an old dc-9. We had completed the right gear, and hooked up the hoses to the left side. I was standing next to the gear, running the box, and talking to my buddy in the cockpit on the interphone. I told him to hit the brakes, and when he did, a "purple haze" came out of one of the fittings, and of course the wind was blowing it right toward me. I took a breath and it felt like my lungs were going to catch on fire. It was the most intense pain I had ever felt (up to the day I got married that is). It hurt so bad, I thought about calling for help. I might have, but I had to be able to breath first. Luckily, it stopped burning after about 15 minutes. Worst part was, after I recovered, we continued the test. One of the anti-skid valves failed, and I got my outside covered in purple pain also while changing the valve. When I finally got home, (2 hours late, due to a problem with an engine) I grabbed a gallon bottle of milk, stepped into the shower and poured the whole gallon over my head. Milk works good for neutralizing sykrol too. It sounds gross, but it worked. The moral of this story? If you happen to be be an airline CEO, buy hyjet, from Exxon. Yea, it may be more expensive, but your guys will love you for it..JT

User currently offline737doctor From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1332 posts, RR: 35
Reply 3, posted (14 years 11 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7959 times:

Yep, the milk bath works pretty good. We had a seal blow on a rudder power pack once (at my last job) and I had to climb up in the hell hole to investigate. I tried my best to protect myself, but the space was filled with mist (I would work only as long as I could hold my breath, then crawl back out) and I ended up getting covered in it anyway. All week the temps were above 100 and it had to be at least 120+ in that hole; by the time I was finished, my skin was on fire. I used the old milk trick as soon as I got home. That was probably the worst time for me with the possible exception of the time I was "roadying" and had to change the aspirator on the main system reservoir.

Patrick Bateman is my hero.
User currently offlineAvt007 From Canada, joined Jul 2000, 2132 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (14 years 11 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7952 times:

Here's a couple of tips from one who's been there; don't hold your penlight in your mouth after crawling around the hellhole on an F28! If you do, Coke is pretty good at washing out the taste. Second, castor oil is good for the eyes, it lifts the skydrol right off the eye surface. Even better, do what I did, and stop working on anything with skydrol in it. I'm off to the land of 5606, " a fine red wine", as a good friend described it.

User currently offline242 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 498 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (14 years 11 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7934 times:

There's a story floating around about a mech who had a problem with neighborhood dogs getting in to his trash and making a mess of it. After consulting the MSDS, and concluding Skydrol had no permanent effects, he brought a small spray bottle of it home and sprayed the bottom six inches of the trash can after he set it out on the curb. He awoke early the next morning to the loud yelping of a dog unfourtunate enough to press it's nose against the can. The animal was running around like mad, rubbing its nose through the grass like crazy. As the story goes, the dog was fine but never messed withe the mechs trash again. Can't confirm if this story is true, but it's sure entertaining.

User currently offlineBigo747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (14 years 11 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 7914 times:

What is skydrol anyways?

User currently offlineRatzz From Sweden, joined Sep 1999, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (14 years 11 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 7915 times:

Here´s a Skydrol story from a ramp rat:

A few years ago on a really hot summer evening,we had just finished loading a 767 and I did the walkaround departure check after wich I called up the flightdeck and gave them OK to do the controls and pressurize the systems..
When they did it,they got an anti-skid warning from the left main gear that only seconds later disapered when the master warning was pushed...so far,so good.
They got push&start clearance and off we went from the gate..both engines start...still normal....
Upon pushback completion,I told the flightdeck to set brakes and heard the master warning bell in the background.....oh well,"brakes set,pressure failiure left main gear..please check and advice..will shutdown left engine"was the capt.answer to me.
So I unhooked the towbar,removed the bypass pin,disconnected the headset and went to check the left main gear...Didn´t see any leaks,so I climbed up on the landing gear to peek into the wheelwell when a loud bang was heard,followed by a red mist heading straight towards me.....
It hurt like h***,my arms&face felt on fire...my lungs acted as if they were gonna crawl out of my chest...
Fell down from the landing gear and almost blind(didn´t get anything in my eyes..lucky me)and in great pain I crawled back and hooked up the headset...
Called flightdeck and informed them of the situation,and got the reply:"zero brake pressure,request tow return to gate..."
Said and done....by now the pain had eased off somewhat....knew about the milk trick so headed off to the locker room with 2 gallons...guess I spent an hour or so in the shower......

So what happend to the a/c?
Don´t really know,was told later that a pipe junction had busted.. but since I´m no enginner..I´d like to know exactly what could have happend.
Are there any 767 tech´s that might answer my question?

User currently offlineMonocleman From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 137 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (14 years 11 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 7899 times:

I feel like a bit of an outcast asking this question, but just what is the stuff? Hydraulic fluid? Sorry I have to interrupt the thread...


User currently offlineJohnM From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 375 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (14 years 11 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 7899 times:

Yes, hydraulic fluid. Thank God Uncle Sam had the good sense not to spec that crap in his airplanes. I know the KC-10 uses that crap, but of course it came from the commercial world. Fire department Hurst hydraulic rescue tools use Skydrol type fluid, and that is more than enough for me. I don't know how you commercial guys can handle that stuff!

User currently offlineAir2gxs From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (14 years 11 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7893 times:

Skydrol is in fact hydraulic fluid. In commercial aviation we use it in just about every flight control and landing gear component, with the exception of the struts (at least here).

I was up on top of body gear strut on a jumbo changing an APU isolation valve when, during a flight control check, a union packing let go in the wheel well. High pressure mist!!! The stuff is bad enough when your're working in it, but to get doused when working on the pnuematic system just bites.

User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31875 posts, RR: 54
Reply 11, posted (14 years 11 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7878 times:

Once during our routine Major checks we were checking a System B pump for leaks & one of the gang was cleared to pressurize the system,With me & my buddy checking the leak.
We took the precaution to wear protective Eyeglass.
When the system was pressurized I could see a stream of Skydrol emitting from the pressure line,I managed to move away & it hit my left shoulder as I did, but the unfortunate guy besides me Got straight hit in the face.The yell is still fresh even today.Although we got him to the medics & he was fine by the evening but he was sure shaken up.
Skydrol LD4 is something that has a strong smell too.

Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineBungle From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 7870 times:

When i was working on gulfstreams i had to change a powered flying control unit Which involved coming in contact with skydrol.
At the end of my shift i checked my tools in and left for home.
Half way through my journey one of my eyes started itching and i rubbed it with my hand the next thing i knew my eye was streaming tears and stinging which impaired my driving forcing me to pull over, it was only then i realised i had not washed all the skydrol off my hands.
regards bungle

User currently offlineA/c train From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 501 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (14 years 10 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 7831 times:

585 ALL THE WAY!!  Big grin

User currently offlineBlues123 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (14 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 7800 times:

Good grief jt8-d . I worked in America long ago and remember the same thing happen to a bloke in our work group . Poor kid got plastered , ever been to Texas ?

User currently offlineJetfixer From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (14 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 7799 times:

My worst experience with skydol is as follows. I'll make it short and sweet.

Fellow mechanic is changing the right electric hydraulic pump on a 757. I'm standing right below talking to some buddies.

Mechanic doesn't disconnect the quick disconnect fitting before taking off the b nut on the pump. Resevoir proceeds to empty real, real fast on top of me and one of the guys i was talking to. We were both soaked from head to toe.

Needles to say, I dont bullsh*t in the whhel well area anymore.

Jetfixer  Smokin cool

User currently offlineJT-8D From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 423 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (14 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 7785 times:

Blues123, Im still in texas..JT

User currently offlineAca320 From Canada, joined Aug 2009, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (14 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 7744 times:

Just a quick note apparently in the film they had some guy swimming in it yeah sure anyway if you get it in the eyes dump caster oil in its amazing how quickly it will stop the pain. I know this from personnel experince also had one of our guys get squirted by it at 3000 psi put his hand up to protect himself stuff penetrated right thru his skin and got into his blood was off work for a year.

User currently offlineCbqfan From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 47 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (14 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 7738 times:

Thanks for the memories all!
Having spent a few years doing overhaul on hydraulic systems I've learned to respect the junk...

You could tell the old-timers in our teardown/assembly area, all their fingertips were dried out and cracked wide open.
First thing they taught me was to wash my hand three times in COLD water before going to the restroom. Some of the best advice I've ever received.

I remember a 727 actuator (elevator I think) with a pressure plate that required proofing at 5000 psi. There was one Lee Plug that would blow out at times and drench the whole test area with Skydrol. I can't tell you how many computer monitor housings melted from the stuff! We wound up having to put a note in the instructions saying 'do not stand behind Lee Plug during proof test'.


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