Maintenance Matters

July 2013 Issue

Belly Degreasers

The selection is big, the job is dirty, but most of the products work well. Ease of use is king—we like the all-in-one degreasers/cleaners.

For many pilots, the first realization that the bellies of their airplanes are becoming hazardous waste sites is when ATC advises that their transponders are intermittent. Investigation reveals a layer of goo on the belly antennas, doing its best to block the signal. Frequently cleaning the by-products of engine operation—oil, grease, soot and other delicacies—off of the belly isn’t just presenting a pleasing view to the world when over-flying, it helps keep the dorsal antennas working their best, keeps potentially corrosive materials off the paint and aluminum and lets you easily see whether the fasteners are in place or the paint isn’t. The idea is to be able to remove that coating of grease, oil and soot without having to wear a hazmat suit. For many of us, water isn’t available at the hangar, or the airport requires that all washing be done on a wash rack that has a drain that catches the crud that comes off of the airplane—and it’s a half mile away.

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