Maintenance Matters

June 2011 Issue

Replacement Plastic: Aftermarket Saves Big

For aircraft interiors made after the late ‘60s, availability and price is best in the aftermarket. For rarer birds, salvage or repair may be the only option.

Like bargain wine and crotchety magazine editors, plastic gets touchy with age. Sunlight is the biggest enemy, but even tucked in a climatecontroller hanger, the compounds that give plastic its flexibility outgas, leaving the remaining material prone to cracking or shattering from a stress it would have sloughed off 10 years prior. Everything aviation costs roughly an order of magnitude higher than an analogous non-aviation part, and plastic interior pieces are no different. The small redeeming point with interior plastic is that parts for the majority of GA aircraft can still be had, and that you can save a bit by doing the installation yourself, if you’re so inclined.

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