Maintenance Matters

October 2018 Issue

Replacement Plastic: Lower Prices, More PMAs

It’s finally a buyer’s market for aftermarket interior and exterior plastic parts. Vantage Plane Plastics has the largest selection, but there are plenty of others.

Elevator tips, window trims, door panels and plastic parts that need to be removed for annual inspections might live the hardest lives, while others wear prematurely because they are prone to vibration. Parts that stick out might get hurt the most, and landing legs and fairings take a beating. Luckily, plastic parts can be repaired and some damage can be hidden, but eventually you run out of washers big enough to hide cracked or oversized holes. There’s no set lifespan for a given piece of aircraft plastic, but in general about every 20 years or so most plastic has degraded enough to require replacement. On the other hand, we’ve seen 40-year-old aircraft with original plastic components that look they just rolled off the factory floor. For preserving interior plastic, using cabin sun shields and covers is a huge help.

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