Airplane cleaning isn't your usual power washing walk in the park weekend project. Even the surface of small sized planes like a Cessna 172/182, King Air or even a Helicopter represent a large bit of real estate to clean.
Airplane Cleaning — Planes Get Dirty
Actually, planes get very dirty and the dust that settles on the surface gets streaked by rain and bird excrement. The extensive hydraulic system often leaks oil as well. Many times during a landing, pilots reverse the thrust of the engines to slow down, blowing dirty exhaust loaded with carcinogenic particles onto the plane's sides and tail. And we haven't even discussed the bug problem yet. When a plane is in the air, it plows through a lot of bugs as it makes its way from point A to point B. When the plane lands, there will be a slimy veneer of bug goo coating the surface as it taxis up to disembark passengers.
For smaller exterior airplane washing, we suggest an electric pressure washer which can effectively meet the cleaning demands a small plane poses. If you have to tackle larger planes such as a Falcon 2000, Gulfstream, Lear Jet or even the incredibly large, French manufactured Airbus A380, you may want to consider tow-behind pressure washer. They'll allow you to clean these massive craft in no time at all. Okay, maybe we're defining "no time at all" rather loosely but you get the idea. Cleaning airplanes take time but you can cut it in half by using a pressure washer.
When operating power washers, there are a couple of house keeping rules you should keep in mind. Nozzles should be kept clean at all times — extremely important because clogged nozzles can increase pump pressure and eventually damage the unit. When a nozzle is clogged, simply clean it or replace it with a new one.
Our pressure washer attachments page includes specialized cleaning tools that soak larger areas and water-actuated rotating brushes for breaking up grime with less effort.
You might wonder why it's so important to keep these jets clean — aesthetics are important but there is also something else at play. Safety. The build up of dirt and grime causes drag on a jet in flight and that cuts into fuel efficiency.
The tail is the dirtiest area and should be your starting point for aircraft cleaning. Our pressure washer attachments page includes extension wands for cleaning high areas from the ground.
- Never use a ladder in order to pressure wash high points since the recoil from the pressure can knock you off balance.
- Work from the top toward the bottom and from the tail toward the nose.
When aircraft washing, the best results are achieved when you compartmentalize your work - clean small sections at a time.