“When you paint an airplane, seven things happen, and six of them are bad.” So says Frank DeNisio, and he ought to know the potential pitfalls that can come between bare metal and a gleaming, durable paint job. DeNisio is operations manager of modifications for Dassault Falcon Jet Wilmington, the relatively new owner of the paint shop he has worked in for 27 years. Dassault Falcon Jet bought the Wilmington, Del.
There are those unsung workers whose skills are underrated and whose work may go unappreciated, or at best is taken for granted. So it is with those who paint business airplanes. It’s a sometimes nasty, often physically demanding, always labor-intensive job that requires a knowledge of chemistry and the soul of an artist.
For years Corpair Supply of O’Fallon, Mo., has been closely associated with the repair and overhaul of Sabreliners. The company recently announced that it has expanded its capabilities to include Falcons (the 10, 20, 50, 200 and 900) and Hawkers (the 400, 600, 700 and 800).
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.
Oxford Aviation of Oxford, Maine, introduced a three-in-one boot treatment called Tri-Guard. It is a silicone-free treatment that rejuvenates and conditions de-icing boots with a high gloss finish, offers protection from ozone degradation and UV rays, enhances the flexibility and durability of the boot and helps the actual ice-shedding process.
The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) for the Eurocopter AS 350B/BA/B1/B2/B3/D and AS 355E Squirrel light helicopters, requiring replacement of the hydraulic fluid at a specified interval when operating in cold weather. The amendment is prompted by reports of ice forming due to condensation in some parts of the hydraulic system.
Even during the worst days of the recent recession, the demand for aircraft exterior paint remained relatively strong. Some completion and refurbishment shops even expanded their paint capability during this period. Elliott Aviation was one such shop.
Wing Aviation on Lone Star Executive Airport near Houston has opened a second paint facility designed to increase overall capacity. The new facility includes a wash rack and provides space for stripping metal and composite preparation processes. It features the same water treatment equipment used in the pre-existing paint facility complete with automated filtration system designed to exceed all EPA and TCEQ requirements.
Four reported incidents of in-flight loss of hydraulic fluid led to an emergency AD being issued Friday for the 139 in-service Premier Is. None of the incidents led to any mishaps, according to Raytheon Aircraft. The problem has been traced to the failure of a hydraulic tube assembly in the left engine. The directive requires a visual inspection of the affected part before further flight and thereafter at intervals of 50 hours.
David Allen has been an aircraft detailer for almost 15 years. His Orlando-based Allen Groupe details aircraft interiors and exteriors out of locations in Indianapolis (IND), Atlanta (PDK), Orlando (MCO and ORL) and Palm Beach (PBI). “XZilon is the first product that I’ve found that can back up its claims scientifically, verified by an independent lab,” he told AIN.