Queries: 08/02

Simple Green?
I recall an article that said Simple Green caused corrosion to aluminum. However, in doing a search, I only find articles recommending the product. Can Simple Green be used to clean an aircraft?

-Kevin D. Padrick
Sunriver, Oregon

Yes says the manufacturer of Simple Green, no say the Air Force and Navy.

Simple Green is a household cleaner thats mildly alkaline. Its manufacturer, Sunshine Makers, Inc., says the aqueous-base and alkalinity of Simple Green…can accelerate the corrosion process. Therefore, contact times of…Simple Green…with unprotected or unpainted aluminum surfaces should be kept as brief as the job will allow…never for more than 10 minutes. Large cleaning jobs should be conducted in smaller-area stages to achieve lower contact time.

Sunshine Makers notes that Simple Green doesnt have Mil-Spec approval and Navy tests done in 1993 revealed that Simple Green failed sandwich corrosion and long-term immersion-corrosion tests on aluminum.

Sunshine Makers says to use common sense when using Simple Green and to flush the surface thoroughly with clean water. Given this advice, Simple Green isn’t our first choice for cleaning and degreasing but we would use it if nothing else were available, provided the surfaces are painted and we’ll rinsed after application.

Our first choice is a product called TR-1000, made by Tomar Industries. Contact them at 919-828-0859.


Garmin Battery Life?
I had a chance to try a Garmin color map for automobile use and was surprised how short the battery life was. Since weve been considering replacing our trusty Garmin 195 yoke-mounted map and emergency back-up, does the Garmin 295 have that short a battery life also? The color is nice, but I really prefer a long battery life if I lose ships power.

-Drew Doorey
Via e-mail

Garmin claims a battery life for the 295 of 2 1/2 hours but in our tests, six fresh AA batteries lasted closer to four hours.

The 195, on the other hand, will run 10 to 12 hours on six AAs. We think even two hours is sufficient power for emergency purposes.


Prop Strike Teardown?
This afternoon, a Champ lost control on landing and struck my parked Skylane. One prop blade was bent back six to eight inches and the impact shoved it back about a foot in the grass. I know its a given that an engine teardown is necessary. Does this apply even if it wasnt running?

-Chuck Forsberg
Via e-mail

According to both Lycoming and Continental bulletins, a teardown and inspection is required in any instance where the prop is sufficiently damaged to require removal and repair. While this strikes us as overkill in some cases, insurance companies seem to insist on the teardown. On the plus side, if youre close to TBO, the insurance will at least pay for a portion of the overhaul.