An exterior paint job on a Gulfstream G550 will typically cost in the neighborhood of $150,000 and, with proper care and maintenance, will last about five years. CareJet Services president Matt Weisman says it doesn’t have to be that way, and his recently launched company offers as proof a new polymer coating that both extends the life of the paint and enhances its appearance.
According to Weisman, IE2000 is the result of three years of testing by U.S.-based global silicones supplier Dow Corning and ProguardPlus of Mallorca, Spain. The product was originally created for large, ocean-going yachts. ProguardPlus has licensed CareJet as the worldwide distributor for aviation applications.
“Smooth as paint may feel to the touch, typical detergents, compounds, wash brushes and contaminated washcloths rub abrasive granular particulates into the painted surface, resulting in micro-scratches, thereby dulling paint and leaving it vulnerable to ultraviolet [exposure] and contaminants,” said Weisman. IE2000, he explained, protects paint from such damage with a lightly adhesive and flexible polymer coat that adds about 9.5 pounds to the weight of an aircraft the size of a Gulfstream. It is a clear coat that does not dull or fade as it ages, he added.
It is applied as a cold treatment using an orbital buffer to spread the liquid product evenly in a coating no more than 1/200th of a millimeter thick. The only preparation required is stripping of any existing Teflon or wax coating, de-greasing and normal wash and dry. Removal of the coating is not necessary before repainting.
CareJet is offering the treatment with a one-year guarantee, with costs ranging from $10,000 for a light jet up to about $20,000 for large jets. At this point, CareJet is recommending a re-treatment after the first year at a cost about one-third that of the original application. Re-treatment does not require removal of the old coating and, according to Weisman, the time until re-application might be extended.
Following the application, CareJet recommends a minimum six-hour curing period. With the initial coating, CareJet also provides free a year’s supply of a special shampoo for washing.
In its liquid form, IE2000 exhibits “negligible” toxicity, and once cured has no toxic properties, he said.
The first aviation application of IE2000 was on the Falcon 50 of a client who had had the coating applied to his yacht. The customer recently had the aircraft repainted and has scheduled it for an IE2000 application early next year.
According to Weisman, the coating has since been applied to two more Falcons and evaluated by Falcon manufacturer Dassault. “They liked the results and had it applied to their Falcon 2000LX demonstrator that was at the EBACE show this spring,” he said. Dassault, he added, has decided to offer IE2000 as a recommended option on new aircraft.
CareJet Services has U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, and its European main office is at Paris Le Bourget Airport.
“We expect to be fully operational in the U.S. and Europe in January,” said Weisman, who defines operational as the deployment of three- to four-person mobile application teams on both continents capable of applying the coating on site in less than 24 hours (including curing time).