BAM BLOG

5 Common Aircraft Painting Problems and their Solutions

Paint is an integral part of an aircraft. Aircraft painting protects the airframe’s integrity and influences the airplane’s weight. When an aircraft is painted properly, its exposed surfaces have greater resistance to dirt and corrosion, and oil doesn’t stick to the surface quickly. Hence, it’s easier to maintain and clean the aircraft.  

However, there are certain issues that may arise during the painting process of any object. These issues are particularly troublesome and visible on aircraft surfaces. Here we have discussed some of the common problems encountered during aircraft painting and ways to address them. 

Aircraft Painting Problems – Causes and Solutions 

1. Poor Adhesion 

The causes of poor adhesion include: 

  • Improper preparation and cleaning of the aircraft surface that needs to be finished 
  • Incompatibility of the primer with the topcoat 
  • Application of wrong primer 
  • Improper mixing of the materials 
  • Selecting a reducer of wrong grade or improper thinning of coating material 
  • Contamination of air supply and/or spray equipment 

Correcting poor adhesion calls for removing the finish completely, determining and rectifying the cause, and refinishing the affected area completely. 

2. Blushing 

The milky dull haze appearing in paint finish is blushing. This trouble arises when moisture gets trapped in paint. Blushing is formed when the solvents evaporate quickly from the sprayed coat, leading to a temperature drop that condenses water in the air. Usually, it occurs when the humidity level is more than 80%. There may be some other causes too that include: 

  • Extremely high air pressure at spray gun 
  • Use of improper reducer (fast drying) 
  • Improper temperature (above 95 °F or below 60 °F) 

If you notice blushing during painting, you can add a slow-drying reducer to your paint mixture and respray the area. In case you find blushing after drying of the finish, you need to sand down the area and repaint it.  

3. Pinholes 

Pinholes are groups of holes or tiny holes occurring in the finish surface due to trapped moisture, air or solvents. Examples of causes include: 

  • Using an improper reducer or thinner, either too slow that causes solvents to be trapped by subsequent topcoats or too fast that involves quick drying of the surface and trapping of solvents 
  • Poor techniques of spraying that lead to excessively wet or heavy paint coats that tend to trap solvent or moisture under the finish 
  • Contaminants in air lines or the paint 

If you notice pinholes occurring during aircraft painting, you need to evaluate the painting technique and equipment before continuing. On drying, the surface should be sanded smooth and then repainted. 

4. Orange Peel 

The occurrence of a bumpy surface similar to an orange’s skin, is referred to as “orange peel”. Several factors may be responsible for this painting issue, with improper adjustment of spray gun being the first. Other causes include: 

  • Forced drying method employing heat or fans, which is too quick 
  • Non-uniform mixture of material 
  • The wrong reducer type for the ambient temperature or the reducer not being enough (too thick) 
  • Spray painting when substrate or ambient temperature is too cold or too hot 
  • The flash time being too less between coats 

In case of light orange peel, it can be buffed out or wet sanded using polishing compound. However, in extreme cases, you need to sand it smooth and then respray.  

5. Sags and Runs 

Sags and runs usually occur when too much paint is applied to a surface by moving the spray gun across the surface too slowly or holding the gun very close to the surface. Below are the other causes: 

  • Incorrect setting of the air-paint mixture in the spray gun 
  • Too much of reducer in paint (very thin) 

To avoid sags and runs, follow the recommended thinning guidelines for the coatings applied as well as ensure that you follow the correct spray gun techniques, particularly on projected edges and vertical surfaces. If the sags and runs are dry, sand them out and repaint the surface.   

 

Wrap Up 

Considering the significance of painting on airplanes, the paint job must be performed carefully by skilled aircraft painters to avoid the above mentioned or other types of aircraft painting problems.  

Boca Aircraft Maintenance, one of the reputed aircraft painting companies located in Florida, has well-experienced aircraft painters providing excellent aviation painting services. If you are looking for reliable aircraft paint shops to give your airplane a fresh coat of paint, contact us or give us a call today! 

6 Things to Know About Private Jet Maintenance

Routinely scheduled aircraft maintenance is crucial for maintaining an aircraft’s airworthiness. In the case of cars, maintenance is optional, but in the case of private jets, every jet has its specific maintenance timeline. Private jet maintenance and the inspections necessary must be completed within this timeline. 

These inspections are outlined by several governing groups including the FAA, aircraft manufacturer, and Maintenance Review Board. These governing groups are responsible for ensuring that the implementation of maintenance standards is carried out for overall aircraft safety. If the required aircraft maintenance is not in place, an airplane is “grounded” legally (unable to fly).  

Performing private jet maintenance is not as simple as getting your car to a mechanic. There are several factors that need to be considered for private aircraft maintenance. If you are one of the private jet owners, following are some of the things you need to know about private jet maintenance 

Things to Know About Private Jet Maintenance

1. Who Regulates Private Aircraft Maintenance?  

Private jets, like all aircraft maintenance, must comply with the high standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These two governing bodies prepared the Safety Oversight Manual (SOR), which determines that the airworthiness of an aircraft meets standards irrespective of the location of its operation. The state in which an airplane is registered validates airworthiness of the aircraft by issuing certification.  

2. When does a Private Aircraft Require Inspection?  

The state of aircraft registry requires periodic inspections to be performed to determine the aircraft’s continued airworthiness. The frequencies of inspections are determined by the state, but they still must comply with the SOR. Inspection times can be once every 100 flight hours or once every 12 months.   

3. What should be the Frequency of Maintenance?  

The frequency of private jet maintenance requirements varies for all airplanes. According to the SOR, preventive maintenance should be carried out on airplanes flying 25 hours or less. At 100 flight hours, minor maintenance should be carried out. Aircraft maintenance frequency depends on several factors like aircraft age, storage facilities, climate change, and operation.  

4. Certification and Regulation of Mechanics

Mechanics performing maintenance of aircraft are regulated by the state in which they work through standards defined by the ICAO and FAA. Mechanics are required to be certified in repair and maintenance. The equipment and tools, which are tested and approved, can only be used by certified mechanics. While performing aircraft servicing, mechanics are required to strictly follow the maintenance manual of the manufacturer.   

5. Keeping Records Properly

Records of repair and maintenance are the sole proof aircraft operators and jet owners have, to show airworthiness. Records are legally required for the appliances, propeller, engine, and airframe. The things that must be there are a description of the job, the completion date, FAA certificate type, the signature of a certified mechanic, and signature of the individual who approves the airworthiness of the aircraft.   

6. The Place of Private Jet Maintenance and Repairs Matter  

Some maintenance works on a private aircraft can be carried out anywhere you land. The state in which you have registered your private jet may have different hourly or annual requirements which require all the mechanical work to be carried out in the state of register. Irrespective of where you get your private jet maintenance performed, it must be done by a qualified and certified mechanic who utilizes approved equipment and work station as well as records everything.  

  

Over the lifetime of a private jet, several maintenance jobs will be performed on it ranging from thorough overhauls to light checks. With a reliable aircraft maintenance services provider by their side, jet owners can experience the highest degree of aircraft safety, value, and service. 

Boca Aircraft Maintenance is a reputed aircraft maintenance company based in Florida, which offers expert private jet maintenance services owing to their highly experienced technicians and dedicated facility. Reach out to us with your private plane maintenance requirements. Call us today!

What to Know About FANS 1/A+ and ATN-B2

With air traffic increasing steadily, we need a more efficient air traffic management system. FANS (Future Air Navigation System) has emerged as an innovative technology for handling rising air traffic. The current air traffic management system relies on navigational aids, voice communications, and radar, and would eventually be ineffective in handling the estimated increase in air traffic. Since 1983, Boeing was trying to develop FANS to address the problem. The working of FANS is based on space-based navigation and communication. FANS 1/A+ is an evolved version of FANS and is capable to offer efficient air traffic management. 

FANS 1/A+: Evolved Version of FANS Aviation System 

In 1983, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) began trying to set up a Datalink architecture in its FANS (Future Air Navigation Systemstructure. This advancement became the protocol standard and architecture of oceanic communications network in which early Satcom and HF reigned. Boeing – a user of ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) – built FANS-1 to ARINC 622 binary data format. This was followed by the development of FANS-A by Airbus. These two systems were combined later and have evolved to FANS-1/A+.  

Boeing (FANS-1) employed the principles of ADS (Automatic Dependent Surveillance) and early CPDLC making use of the existing ACARS. It should be noted that ADS includes automatic surveillance like position reporting, while CPDLC includes communication using text as data and not voice, for authorizations and clearance requests. 

ATN-B2 

Similar to Airbus (FANS-A) and Boeing (FANS-1), ICAO had been engaged in a separate FANS effort, primarily based on a newer ATN (Aeronautical Telecommunications Network) set of standards and protocols. This development was referred to as ATN-B1 (Baseline 1). It’s important to understand this nomenclature as now both the Data Comm paths of ATN-B1 and FANS 1/A+ are combined to form ATN-B2.  

In ATN-B2, the continental focused ATN-B1 and oceanic focused FANS 1/A+ are brought together. ATN-B2 is still being developed by EUROCAE WG 78 and FAA RTCA sub-committee SC 214. ATN-B2 consists of advanced services, like Dynamic RNP, 4D Trajectories, and Advanced Flight Interval Management.  

Benefits of Future Air Navigation System 

DataLink services don’t depend on voice, so there are no concerns related to voice over, data update times, ATC and pilot workload, out of range radar, out of range VHF, HF limitations, and interpretation of words.  

DataLink services of FANS are automated as well as highly flexible to the users on the ground and in the air. FANS aviation system saves time, diminishes operating costs, and improves safety. Furthermore, besides Data Comm, FANS air navigation system helps with other aspects of NextGen, such as surveillance, improved traffic flow, and navigation.  

 

Wrap Up 

FANS-1/A+ is an innovative air navigation system that can help aircraft navigate efficiently and safely even the more congested airspaces. Boca Aircraft Maintenance, a leading airplane maintenance company in Florida, can provide expert FANS-1/A+ installation services. Get your aircraft equipped with this revolutionary technology to enhance your aircraft’s performance.  

ADS-B Aviation Technology: Things to Know

Countries across the globe are trying to implement a more efficient way to track aircraft. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) has emerged as a useful technology to accomplish this job. ADS-B aviation technology would replace radar eventually as the primary method of surveillance for separation of aircraft and monitoring of Air Traffic Control (ATC).  

Regulations mandating ADS-B technology have been published by the US and some other countries, on aircraft flying in their regions based on differing schedules. Some countries which do not require ADS-B equipment yet have designated special airspace and routes to the aircraft that voluntarily equip.  

The ADS-B Out technology allows ground vehicles and equipped aircraft to broadcast their altitude, position, velocity, and identification to ATC and other aircraft. ADS-B In technology enables aircraft to receive such information.   

ADS-B aircraft technology provides important information that helps prevent and project traffic conflicts.  

Things to Know About ADS-B Aviation System: 

Key Advantages of ADS-B Aviation Technology 

  • Expanding ATC surveillance to more regions 
  • Increasing the efficiency and capacity of airspace 

Working of ADS-B Aviation Technology 

In the US, vehicles and airplanes equipped with ADS-B exchange information on either of two frequencies – 1090 MHz or 978 MHz. Traffic Collision and Avoidance Systems (TCAS) and Mode S and A/C transponders use 1090 MHz. The message elements of Mode S are extended by ADS-B, adding information about an aircraft as well as its position. The extended squitter is referred to as 1090ES. 1090ES was chosen as the global standard for ADS-B by an international technical advisory committee.  

The FAA is upgrading and deploying ground networks systematically. ADS-B Out can be attained in the US through two methods. The first method is using next generation of transponders that operate on the band of 1090 MHz. The second method is making use of a new technology known as Universal Access Transceiver (UAT). UAT works on 978 MHz and is applicable to aircraft flying below 18,000 feet in the US.  

In the US, as per the ADS-B mandate, all airplanes must have ADS-B Out installed in them by January 1, 2020.  

Equipment Needed for ADS-B Aviation Technology 

Depending on how old your aircraft is, the equipment may be complex or simple. Moreover, some elements might already be on your aircraft. The ADS-B system would need at least one WAAS-capable GPS receiver connected to the transponders directly. The transponders will require upgradation to be compliant.  

ADS-B Out Technology 

The broadcast portion of ADS-B technology is referred to as ADS-B OutADS-B Out equipped airplanes will transmit aircraft information continuously, like location, altitude, and airspeed to the ADS-B ground stations. The minimum necessary equipment for ADS-B Out flight technology is an ADS-B-approved transmitter – a 1090 MHz Mode S transponder or 978 MHz UAT to be used with a Mode S or Mode C transponder installed previously. 

ADS-B In Technology 

The system’s receiver part is referred to as ADS-B In. Aircraft equipped with ADS-B In can receive and interpret the ADS-B Out data of other participating aircraft on an Electronic Flight Bag or a computer screen. The function of ADS-B In needs an approved system of ADS-B Out as well as an ADS-B receiver with “in” ability. Furthermore, for graphic traffic and weather displays, a display interface compatible with ADS-B will be required. 

 

Wrap Up 

ADS-B aviation technology helps provide airspace users with a more accurate traffic understanding. It’s a highly useful technology helping optimize aircraft performance. If you are an aircraft owner in the United States, get ADS-B flight tracker system installed in your airplane promptly.  

5 Types of Primers Used in Aircraft Painting and Finishing

The value of primers iaircraft painting and finishing is usually underestimated and misunderstood as it is invisible after application of the topcoat finish. Nevertheless, a primer serves as the foundation of finish. The role of primer is bonding to the surface, inhibiting metal corrosion, and providing an anchor point for coats of the finish.  

The primer pigments should either be anodic to surface of the metal or passivate the metal surface if moisture is present. The binder and the finish coats should be compatible with each other. Primers for surfaces that are nonmetallic, don’t require passivating or sacrificial pigments.  

Following are some of the chief primer types used for aircraft painting and finishing. 

Primers for Aircraft Painting and Finishing 

1. Wash Primers

Wash primers are coating of phosphoric acid in a solution of alcohol, vinyl butyral resin, and other ingredients. These primers give water-thin coatings, have very low amounts of solids, and have no filling qualities. The functions of these primers are passivating the surface, providing corrosion resistance temporarily, and offering an adhesive base for next coatings, like an epoxy or urethane primer.  

Wash primers have remarkable corrosion protection qualities and don’t need sanding. The recoat timeframe for some of them is very short that should be taken into account while painting larger airplanes. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions to get satisfactory results.  

2. Gray Enamel Undercoat

This is a nonsanding, single component primer compatible with various topcoats. Gray enamel undercoat has a high corrosion resistance, dries quickly without any shrinkage, and fills minor imperfections.  

3. Red Iron Oxide

An alkyd resin-based primer coating, red oxide primer was developed to be used over steel and iron in mild environmental conditions. You can apply it over rust which is free of grease, oil, and loose particles. This primer type’s use is limited in aviation industry.  

4. Epoxy

A thermosetting, synthetic resin, epoxy produces hard, tough, chemical-resistant adhesives and coatings. Epoxy uses a catalyst for activating the product chemically, but it’s not identified as hazardous as it doesn’t contain any isocyanates. This primer type can be employed as a nonsanding sealer/primer over bare metal. It’s softer compared to urethane and has a good chip resistance. Epoxy is recommended to be used over steel tube frame airplanes before installing fabric covering. 

5. Zinc Chromate

A corrosion resistant pigment, zinc chromate can be added in primers made of various types of resins, like alkyd, polyurethane, and epoxy. Zinc chromate of older type can be distinguished by its bright yellow hue as compared to the current brand primers that usually have a light green color. Zinc chromate reacts with metal surfaces because of moisture present in the air, forming a passive layer which prevents corrosion. At one time, zinc chromate was the standard primer for painting of airplanes. However, it has now been replaced due to environmental concerns and the emergence of new formula primers.  

 

These are the key types of primers used in aircraft painting and finishing. If you are looking for airplane painting services, Boca Aircraft Maintenance can provide you quality aircraft painting and finishing services. Being one of the leading aircraft painting companies in Florida, we specialize in aircraft exterior painting.

Checklist for Spring Aircraft Maintenance: 7 Things You Need to Do

It’s important to maintain the mechanical safety standards of an aircraft all round the year. However, springtime is a particularly significant time to perform a thorough aircraft maintenance, since spring comes after a long span of inactivity and cold. Before pulling out your airplane from the hangar for spring/summer flying season, there are several things you need to address and check. Following is a list of things you need to do as part of your spring aircraft maintenance. 

Checklist for Spring Aircraft Maintenance 

1. Review the Maintenance Records of your Aircraft 

The first step in the spring maintenance of your aircraft should be reviewing its maintenance history. Find out what preventative maintenance and repairs have been carried out recently. Also check out if there are any aircraft repairs which had been postponed but should be done. Now is the right time for doing them, particularly any safety repairs based on FAA Airworthiness Directives. These are aircraft safety repairs required by FAA for flying a plane legally. 

2. Examine Battery and Other Electrical Accessories 

If the battery’s condition or age is in question, check it and replace if necessary. A rule of thumb to follow should be removing and inspecting the batter after every 50 hours of use. Moreover, examine the condition of the mounting apparatus and the battery leads. Check other electrical accessories too that include radio and antenna, wiring at terminals, circuit breakers, and circuits.  

3. Examine the Fuel System and Change the Oil 

Even if your aircraft’s gas tank was filled and oil changed before laying it up for winter, it’s crucial to check your plane’s fuel system and do an oil change in spring before starting with flying again. Oil may become acidic leading to corrosion and pitting of the components like bearings and cam lobes. Rust may mix with oil resulting in extensive engine damage.  

Furthermore, examine the fuel system. The fuel filter should be removed, cleaned, and replaced if necessary. Check for any condensation in fuel tanks, which may happen if there is air in the tanks and tanks were not full. Corrosion can be caused by water at the bottom of a tank. In case static vent covers and pitot were installed prior to the winter, they should be removed now. Check that master switches are back on and fuel cocks are open. Additionally, check: 

  • Fuel gauge for any damage 
  • Fuel valve for leaks or damages 
  • Fuel drain for any foreign matter or water 
  • Fuel lines for leaks or damages 
  • Condition of fuel tanks and the straps 

Although a fuel system flush and an oil change may appear to be a redundant expense at the moment, they can save you from way more costly repairs later on. 

4. Inspect Wear and Pressure of Tires 

Like in case of car tires, air pressure tends to decrease over time for aircraft tires. Ensure that the tires of your airplane are at the recommended psi. In addition, inspect the tires visually for bald spots and tread wear. Examine the wheel brake assembly also for strut condition and leaks. 

5. Test the Landing Gear, Propeller, Tail Fins, and Wing Flaps 

Ensure that the landing gear doors, landing gear, tail fins, wing flaps, and propeller assembly are all working well. Check that no components or parts are dirty, damaged or loose.  

6. Check for Structural Damage 

If you had hangared your aircraft inside, there are low chances that it suffered any winter damage. However, it’s always wise to do a walkaround before starting with flying. Check out for any structural damage or hairline cracks on the wings and fuselage caused by contact with another aircraft or wind. Examine seals and gaskets to ensure they are not dried out or corroded. Additionally, check the cowling and air intake, pilot tube, stall warning vent, and the static ports for any animals, as birds and small rodents may have made nests in these areas and other places. 

7. Wash Well 

Last but not the least, give your aircraft a good interior cleaning and exterior washing. Ensure that no foreign materials or dirt interfere with the operations of the tail fin and wing flap. While washing windows, remember to wash in up and down motion rather than swirling in circles since that may cause scratches on the windows. 

 

Wrap Up 

So, before you begin with flying, make sure you carry out a proper spring plane maintenance by following the above steps. Proper aircraft maintenance ensures optimal performance of an airplane.  

You may also consider seeking the assistance of a reliable company providing aircraft maintenance services. Boca Aircraft Maintenance provides high quality aircraft maintenance services and specializes in spring aircraft maintenance program 

FANS Aviation Navigation: What to Know About Data Comm Systems with FANS 1/A+

Data Comm is a highly complex system development that international and domestic Air Traffic Control organizations and the associated regulatory agencies have undertaken till date. Originally established as a feature for cost-savings, the Data Comm technology has been used in North Atlantic for more than three decades. Canadian and US authorities have established FANS 1/A+ requirement in some North Atlantic airspaces and ATN B1 (Aeronautical Telecommunications Network Baseline) ability in European airspace. In the US, the FAA is employing FANS aviation system Domestic functions by the implementation of CPDLC DCL (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications Departure Clearance) capability to manage airspace, improve safety, and address congestion of communication frequency more effectively.  

Components of Data Comm 

The term Data Comm applies to an expanding set of data communication systems and elements that may be integrated neatly into a single system for transparency of flight crew. In such a case, there may be several CPDLC type systems having remarkably differing ground infrastructure which will largely operate and look the same on flight deck. Some Data Comm elements are almost entirely transparent to flight crew.  

The chief components of Data Comm include: 

  • Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications or CPDLC 
  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract or ADS-C (needed for FANS aviation system Oceanic)
  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out or ADS-B Out (for ATN B1/FANS operations) 
  • VDL Mode 2 data link radio and/or an appropriate SATCOM 

Development of FANS 1/A+ and Data Comm 

For aircraft to operate in remote/oceanic regions of airspace, it was essential to establish a method of surveillance and communication for managing aircraft that are out of range of conventional ground-based radar and VHF radio systems for prolonged periods. 

For long years, HF (HIGH Frequency) radio system had been the sole means of communication in oceanic/remote airspace. An HF radio system uses the atmosphere or line of sight for bouncing the transmissions to recipients. There are some problems associated with HF Radio because of noisy transmissions arising from language barriers and atmospheric conditions.  

FANS aviation system led to an improvement in HF radio communication by employing data link communication via satellite communications. The satellite-based existing ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) was utilized when Data Comm Fans systems were implemented for the first time.  

In 1983, the industry officials were concerned about the increasing air traffic, and tried addressing an ageing infrastructure, not capable of effectively handling increasing congestion. In response to the issue, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) set up the Special Committee for Data Comm FANS. The Special Committee was assigned the task of finding new technologies for development of surveillance and communication in the future which would help manage air traffic under Data Comm FANS infrastructure.  

In 1988, the initial FANS aviation system report was published that laid the foundation for the future strategy of the industry for CNS/ATM concept. Then, work began to develop the technical standards necessary for realizing Data Comm FANS concept.  

The Boeing Company declared the first implementation of FANS aviation system in early 1990s, called FANS-1. The aim of FANS-1 deployment was improving choice of route for operators, and thus, cut down fuel burn.  

A similar technology was later built by Airbus, called ‘FANS A’. The two technologies are today collectively called ‘FANS 1/A’. Minor enhancements have been added to it and is now referred to as FANS 1/A+. Today, Data Comm FANS uses CPDLC and automatic position reporting to communicate with ATC directly over VHF making use of SATCOM or VDL Mode 2 in place of ACARS, so as to facilitate more efficient communication between ATC and aircraft.  

Benefits of Data Comm FANS 1/A+ 

Decreased Separation Between Aircraft 

CDPLC communication between ATC and flight crew reduces communication error possibility drastically and allows diminished separation between aircraft in airspace. Heightened airspace capacity makes more desired routes available for aircraft flying in that airspace. 

Data Link Communication 

The VDL Mode 2 network is a high-capacity and high-speed digital communication network, providing around 20 times the message capacity compared to the commonly used ACARS. Using VDL Mode 2 is also more cost effective compared to traditional VHF.  

Data Comm FANS 1/A+ has a few more benefits other than these. 

FANS Aviation Technology (FANS 1/A+) – A Must-Have for Aircraft 

The future air navigation system (FANS 1/A+) is a highly helpful aircraft navigation system that can help ATCs and pilots identify the most economical and safest flight paths leveraging advanced satellite technology.  ATN B1 update – the latest FANS version – will be a mandate by February, 2020 over European airspace. If you are an aircraft owner, consider getting this latest version of FANS installed in your flying machine promptly.  

4 FAQs Answered About ADS-B Tracking System in Aviation

As something crucial to know for aircraft owners, it has been mandated by the FAA that airplanes flying in airspaces that require a Mode C transponder now must have ADS-B Out installed by January 1, 2020. The ADS-B tracking system is an integral element of NextGen modernization of air traffic.  

The ADS-B Out flight technology transmits information about location, airspeed, and altitude derived via GPS from an equipped airplane to the ground stations as well as to other equipped airplanes in the vicinity. Using this information, air traffic controllers “see” participating airplanes in real time aiming to improve traffic management.  

ADS-B In, although not included in the mandate and needs additional equipment, lets participating airplanes to receive weather and traffic information from the ADS-B ground stations as well as nearby airplanes that broadcast their positions via ADS-B Out. Situational awareness can be improved by displaying this information in the cockpit.  

The ADS-B 2020 mandate has no influence on current transponder requirements, which means airplanes must continue carrying transponders even after getting equipped with ADS-B Out 

Unlike most safety-based rulemaking activities, the ADS-B Out mandate is based on the need to support Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) by the FAA. According to the FAA, the ADS-B Out mandate will not decrease or increase safety significantly but is essential to proceed with NextGen.  

Answers to Some FAQs About ADS-B Tracking System in Aviation 

1. Why is FAA shifting to ADS-B System, moving away from radar? 

ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) is an innovative technology improving efficiency and safety, and benefiting the airlines, airports, controllers, pilots, and the public directly. It is the base for NextGen by shifting from navigational aids and ground radar to precise tracking through satellite signals. 

  • ADS-B flight tracker system allows pilots to see, for the first time, what controllers can see – displays featuring other airplanes in the sky. With cockpit displays, pilots can also get informed about hazardous terrain and weather and receive important flight information like temporary flight restrictions.  
  • With controller and cockpit displays available with ADS-B aviation technology, runway incursion risk is reduced. The controller and cockpit displays provide the location of airplanes as well as equipped ground vehicles at airport surfaces, even during heavy rainfall and nighttime. The newly developed ADS-B applications will help pilots get alerts or indications of potential collisions.  
  • Greater coverage can also be obtained with ADS-B tracking system as it’s far easier to place ground stations than radar. Remote regions that do not have radar coverage, such as parts of Alaska and Gulf of Mexico, have surveillance now with ADS-B.    
  • The use of satellites rather than ground navigational aids lets airplanes fly more directly from one point to another, with reduction in emissions and fuel burn, and savings on money and time.  
  • Satellite signals offer increased reliability, accuracy, and integrity than radar. This would eventually allow controllers to decrease the minimum separation distance safely between airplanes and improve capacity in the skies.  

 2. What are the rules of ADS-B? 

In May 2010, the FAA published the Federal Regulation 14 CFR § 91.227 and 14 CFR § 91.225. According to the final rule, aircraft flying in airspace that’s defined in 91.225 should be equipped with an ADS-B system which consists of a certified position source with the ability to fulfill requirements defined in 91.227.  

 3. ADS-B offers vertical air speed, aircraft number, and altitude. Will it provide horizontal air speed also? 

ADS-B tracking system reports two types of altitudes – geometric and barometric. Geometric altitude is determined by Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) as the aircraft’s height above earth ellipsoid. Pressure or barometric altitude is known best by pilots – it’s the altitude shown on the aircraft’s altimeter. Both the altitudes are different; having both facilitates applications requiring either of them as a source of altitude. 

ADS-B system does not report horizontal or vertical airspeed. Rather, the system reports vertical and horizontal velocity relative to Earth. This velocity helps in air traffic control functions as well as assists ADS-B technology applications.  

 4. When should I equip? 

The mandate requires ADS-B Out installation by January 1, 2020. This ADS-B compliance is required to continue flying in designated airspace. In case you do not need to fly in ADS-B-designated airspaces, then you do not need to equip your aircraft with ADS-B Out 

 

This information may help you get answers to some of your questions about ADS-B tracking system for aircraft. Following the ADS-B 2020 mandate, get your aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out promptly, as without the system installed, you will not be able to fly in US airspace after January 1, 2020.  

6 Types of Finishing Materials Used for Aircraft Painting and Finishing

The purpose of aircraft painting and finishing is not just enhancing the aesthetics of an airplane. Aerospace paint protects an aircraft frame’s integrity and influences an airplane’s weight. Finishing is applied for safeguarding the exposed surfaces of an aircraft from deterioration and corrosion. There is a broad range of finishes and materials available that are employed to protect the outer surface of the aircraft and offer the desired look to the plane.  

Decorative finishing of airplanes includes application of letters, identification numbers, decals, addition of emblems and company logos, and trim striping.  

Finishing Materials Used for Aircraft Painting and Finishing 

Among the broad range of materials used in airplane finishing, some of the common materials are discussed as follows: 

1. Acetone 

A fast-evaporating solvent with no color, acetone is an ingredient in varnish, nail polish, and nail removers. For most plastics, acetone is a strong solvent and is effective for thinning adhesives, vinyl, polyester resins, and fiberglass resin. It serves as superglue remover too. This solvent is a heavy-duty degreaser that’s fit for metal preparation as well as grease removal from fabric covering before doping. Its use as thinner in dope should be avoided due to its fast evaporation that causes the doped region to cool and gather moisture. The absorbed moisture hinders uniform drying and leads to the dope’s blushing and a no-gloss, flat finish. 

2. Alcohol 

Butyl alcohol or butanol is a solvent that dries slowly and can be combined with aircraft dope for retarding the dope film’s drying on humid days, thereby preventing blushing. A dope solvent mixture having 5-10% butanol usually serves this purpose well. Ethanol alcohol and butanol are mixed in ratios that range from 1:1 to 1:3 for diluting wash coat primer in spray applications since butanol retards the rate of evaporation.  

Denatured alcohol or ethanol is employed as a component of varnish and paint remover. Ethanol also serves as a degreaser and cleaner prior to painting.  

3. Methylene Chloride 

A volatile, colorless liquid, methylene chloride is completely miscible with various other solvents. Methylene chloride has wide application in paint strippers, and it’s also used as a degreaser/cleaning agent for metal parts. Under normal conditions, it doesn’t have a flash point and can be employed for reducing other substances’ flammability.  

4. Turpentine 

The wood of certain pine trees is distilled to obtain turpentine. A water-insoluble and flammable liquid solvent, turpentine acts as a thinner as well as a quick-drier for enamels, varnishes, and other types of oil-based paints. It’s also used for cleaning paint brushes and paint equipment used with any oil-based paint.  

5. Mineral Spirits

Also known as petroleum spirits, Stoddard solvent, or white spirit, mineral spirits is petroleum distillate employed as a mild solvent and paint thinner. This is the most broadly employed solvent in paint industry, utilized in varnishes, lacquers, wood preservatives, paints, and aerosols. Mineral spirits are also used commonly for cleaning paint equipment and paint brushes. It finds use in degreasing and cleaning machine parts and tools due to its effectiveness in removing greases and oils from metal. Mineral spirits are less toxic, less flammable, and has low odor than turpentine.  

6. Varnish

A protective, transparent finish, varnish is used primarily for finishing wood. Varnish comes in exterior and interior grades. Compared to the interior grade varnish, the exterior grade varnish dries less hard, and contracts and expands with variations in temperature of the material that needs to be finished.  

Traditionally, varnish is a mixture of a solvent or thinner, a resin, and drying oil. It has no added pigment, is transparent, and has little to no color. The drying of varnish is slower than most of the other finishes.  

 

Every aircraft finishing material comes with its own characteristics. When choosing a finishing material to be used in aircraft exterior painting, determine your needs first and choose accordingly. If you are looking for quality aircraft painting services or weatherproof aircraft painting in Florida, Boca Aircraft Maintenance can provide you the finest quality aircraft painting and finishing services.  

5 Must-Know Aircraft Maintenance Tips

Whether you are an individual or a company owning a private airplane, you need to ensure regular aircraft maintenance as well as inspections so that your airplane stays in a sound condition and delivers optimum performance while flying. An airplane is a complicated machine and needs to be serviced in several ways to ensure that every component of the aircraft is functioning properly.  

Both new and experienced aircraft pilots and mechanics need to realize the significance of properly carried out aircraft maintenance and repair. Tune-ups at regular intervals keep your flying machine free from any potentially life-threatening issues as well as fully operational. Following are some useful tips for proper aircraft maintenance, remembering which would help you keep your airplane at its peak safety status and operation. 

Tips for Aircraft Maintenance

1. Keep a Schedule for Regular Inspection 

According to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) rules, all airplanes must undergo one inspection at the least each year. In case the aircraft carries people apart from the crew, additional inspections would be required by it, after every 100 hours of flight. Such inspections ensure the aircraft’s safety and airworthiness.  

For airplanes with heavy use, progressive inspections and checks are an option. They shorten the time between the regular inspections, however, the number of checks in the entire year are more. For example, a corporate airplane may undergo inspections and checks after every 25 hours of flight. A special approval is required for this schedule which cannot be transferred.  

Additionally, different inspection schedules may be required for individual components. For example, altimeters and transponders must be examined every 24 months. For emergency locator transmitters, the checking needs to be performed every 12 months, although they may not be inspected at the time of the required annual inspection. Inspections of all types should be considered while scheduling airline maintenance 

2. Determine Aircraft Maintenance Goals 

Aviation maintenance jobs include looking after the aircraft’s components and structure. The goal is balancing the cost of maintenance and inspections with optimizing the safety of the aircraft. Maintenance offers the opportunity to repair or replace worn-out components and parts of an aircraft before they fail. Aviation maintenance also offers chances to improve the aircraft’s design through modifications. 

While performing maintenance jobs, technicians should make sure to stay safe. They should employ a work platform which can help them work efficiently and minimize any risk of falls at the same time. Aircraft maintenance and repair should be a completely safe and secure process for technicians.  

3. Perform Component Maintenance 

Components need maintenance and checking on a regular basis through inspections for preventing failure. The most common reason behind failure of components is not simply age-related wear. It is, around 90% of generic components and parts failing by chance or slowly over time. To ensure the components have the maximum longevity, choose one of the three preventive maintenance methods. 

Hard time maintenance method is the least economical. This method involves replacing a component after it has reached the factory-determined lifespan. Functional inspections examine a certain operation of an aircraft part for verifying that they remain operational prior to replacing them. The most thorough method is functional verification. It examines a component’s all functions, especially the ones that may not be seen by the crew during a flight.  

Several steps must be followed for component maintenance. The primary step is regular repair and lubrication of worn-out parts. Operational or visual inspections can show whether any failure has occurred or not. Functional inspections help find indications of impending failure. The rate of failure should be predictable at this step. If not predictable, the component requires to be replaced or restored.   

4. Perform Structural Maintenance 

An aircraft’s structure is susceptible to damage through standard use and age. As a matter of fact, around 40% of an aircraft’s structural damage occurs because of “friendly foreign object damage” that is caused by ramps or maintenance. Checking for such damage and fixing it, alongside the damage resulting from fatigue and age, is included in structural maintenance program.  

5. Perform Regular Maintenance Checks 

For commercial airplanes, a set of maintenance checks are required by the FAA that include A, B, C, D, overnight, and preflight checks. The preflight check involves a walk around an airplane before each flight. The preflight check is aimed at looking for visual indications of wear and damage, especially to tires, brakes, and engines.  

Between the 100-hour flight inspections, airplanes must be provided with overnight maintenance. The check involved in overnight maintenance is far more thorough that includes checking the fluid levels – including hydraulics and oil – and other types of aircraft-specific maintenance jobs. The A check, conducted every 200 flight hours, needs another period of overnight maintenance. The check is focused on the aircraft’s interior. It ensures correct operation of hydraulics and air conditioning and proper lubrication of every system.  

The B check makes the final overnight aircraft check that involves torque tests and flight control tests. This check occurs every 400 hours. In C checks, the aircraft is taken out of commission for about 5 days. This check occurs after every 13-15 months. The C check includes a thorough evaluation of all flight systems and the engines.  

If more extensive aircraft repair is needed, or there’s a need to carry out the most thorough examination – the D check – the aircraft would be pulled from making any flights for around 30 days. The D check is conducted after every 2-5 years. It includes checking for and fixing any corrosion issues. In extreme cases, an aircraft may be required to be dismantled and rebuilt because of structural problems. If this occurs, the aircraft also needs to be painted again.  

Wrap Up 

Proper aircraft maintenance services, repairs, inspections, and routine checks are crucial for the safety of an aircraft and the people in it. They facilitate safe flying of an aircraft that improves the bottom line of an operator while providing protection and peace of mind to people. Additionally, aircraft owners should ensure that they conduct the mandatory aircraft upgrade like installing ADS-B (OUT) and FANS-1/A+ in their airplanes so that their planes comply with FAA regulations and deliver optimum performance. 

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