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Aircraft Washing Service For General Aviation – Costs Equipment and EPA

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Aircraft Washing Service For General Aviation

Not long ago, a gentleman from a small California airport had asked me what it might cost to set up a fixed site wash rack. Also what sort of equipment was necessary and what sorts of environmental controls were needed for it all.

Okay so, I started my first aircraft washing service at age 12-years old, so I know a thing or two about aircraft cleaning. Here are some thoughts on this very good question.

Well, the equipment should be mounted and put into a shed of some type – something low to the ground for low-wing aircraft to taxi over. The airport in question is in a region of California which gets really cold at times.

Thus, you have to make sure the water doesn’t freeze, and that you have a pressure relief valve of some type to completely discharge any water in the pump after use, you can’t let it freeze.

If the airport wishes to put in an entire wash pad with a drain in the center that is wise, 1-inch per 5 feet slope, but also I advise putting in a small 4-inch by 6-inch trench with a small grate around it to drain all water from all sides, proper drainage is important due to debris which might get stuck inside, you don’t want to create a mosquito haven or scum build up?

Also the wash pad should be up a little bit on a high-point so it doesn’t collect water from elsewhere and puddle.

There is another thought, and that would be some sort of hangar area surrounding the wash rack were an owner might taxi up and pull the aircraft nose under the overhang, protecting folks for rain? Additionally you should ask yourself; will pilots be using degreaser on their firewalls, engines, bellies? If so, that adds costs, challenges with filtration and issues at your local sewer plant, still, it’s probably something the owner’s association there would want.

Let’s talk about costs:

  1. If you had a hot water pressure washer, I recommend 5 GPM, 15 HP or electric equivalent, Cat pump 2500 psi, natural gas fired burner, 250 feet of hose, double steel braided, with quick disconnects at 150 feet and 200 feet. With reclaim; $28,000 and without reclaim; $7500
  2. If cold water only get a 5.5 HP or electric equivalent, 4.5 GPM, Cat pump 1500 psi. Cost: $1800 about – get multiple bids.
  3. Add any building costs + clarifiers that the county or city has you put in. I am thinking $25,000 for a clarifier, $12,000 for the slightly elevated wash pad 4-6″ is all you need to prevent puddles from the ramp or taxiway run-off, and concrete, presuming this will be set right off a taxi way or the side of the ramp.

There are Landa dealers around,try phone book under “pressure washing equipment” category. They can fix you up. Also if you need an above ground freeze resistant reclaim system prior to discharge to city sewer system. If you are on a septic tank, that would be the only way to go or if you were to let the water go for watering the airport grass once filtrated.

Airport EPA rules are pretty strict – everything from de-ice fluid, hydraulic fluids, fuel, etc. – No runoff allowed into water ways. Also check 13.263 of the California water code, pretty strict there too, more so in some cases. They really overdo it, but realize you guys are on high-ground with run-off, no sense in messing up a nice airport, we are lucky to have all the airports we can get for general aviation these days. Please consider all this and think on it.

Gary Hubler – 5 Time Reno National Air Race Champion – An Aviation Legend

Gary Hubler

One look at Gary Hubler’s Air Racing website and you can see he means business, he flies to win. Gary was never one to fear the ground and most of his flying was close to the ground as an agricultural pilot, but what Gary excelled in was racing and winning.

In fact, at age 51 he was a five-time champion at Reno National Championship Air Races. Gary was from Caldwell, ID and loved to fly and his crew is made of up of a set of superstars indeed.

Gary Hubler had nearly 20,000 hours flying time and was considered the top contender at Reno 2007 flying his highly modified Cassutt 111M, “Mariah.” This has been a tough year at the Reno Air Races, as Gary Hubler lost his life after his plane made contact with another racer in mid-air, witnesses said the two aircraft’s wings hit each other and sent Gary Hubler and his famous race plane into the desert not far below at nearly 250 miles per hour.

The other aircraft and pilot involved was able to make it back to the ground and land safely, with some injuries but nothing life threatening. Two judges on the ground took some debris, but one refused medical services and the other was treated briefly at the scene.

Gary was the third fatality during the 2007 Reno Air Races and he will be missed, he was a hell of a pilot and know to all as a gentleman, who loved the sport and loved to fly. For more information on this incredible aviator and his race team find the links below:


The Four W’s Of Aviation Radio Communications

What’s the hardest part about pilot training? Almost everyone will say, “Talking on the radio.” However, even beginners can sound good on the radio if they apply some simple rules. I’ll first discuss those rules and then give some tips all pilots can use to improve their radio skills.

The Four W’s of Radio Communication

Usually the hardest radio call for a pilot to make is the first one — the “initial call up.” However, every initial call (and many subsequent calls) just need to remember the four W’s:

  • Who am I calling?
  • Who am I?
  • Where am I?
  • Where am I going, what am I doing, or what do I want to do?

Let’s take two examples of this, one for an uncontrolled field and one with a control tower.

As you get ready to enter the traffic pattern at an uncontrolled field, typically you will make an announcement such as:

“Milltown traffic (who am I calling?), Cessna 12345 (who am I?) entering 45 to downwind (where am I?), runway 22 for landing Milltown (what am I doing?).

With a control tower, you might instead say:

Ocala tower

Ocala tower (who am I calling?), Cessna 12345 (who am I?) eight miles north at two thousand five hundred with Charlie (where am I? — and add the ATIS), landing Ocala (what do I want to do?).

Once you have established communication, you don’t need to use the four Ws for all of your communication. Instead, you will just read back critical instructions to the controller so they know you have received them. For example, if the controller asks you to enter a right downwind for runway 24, you would reply, “Cessna 12345 will enter right downwind for 24.”

Try some different scenarios with your friends or a flight instructor, and pretty soon you’ll know what to say at all times.


Even when you know what to say, talking on the radio still takes some practice. Here are some tips that will have you talking like a pro in no time.

  1. Listen to ATC communications. If you don’t have a radio that receives aviation frequencies, see if you can borrow one from another pilot or your flight school for a week. Listen to what pilots say to ATC on their initial call up and how they respond to ATC directions. Try to listen to ground, tower, approach, and center frequencies if you can.
  2. Write down what you are going to say before you make your initial radio call. You can even make up fill-in-the-blank scripts to do this. After a few weeks of this, most people can make calls on their own, but you may still want to write down complicated calls.
  3. If you’re a student pilot, be sure to say so in your initial call up so ATC will be more careful in how they handle you.
  4. Don’t be concerned if you forget something. Even experienced pilots sometimes forget to tell the controller their altitude or that they have the ATIS. Don’t worry — controllers will ask you for something if you’ve forgotten it.
  5. Study Chapter 4 and the Pilot/Controller Glossary in the Aeronautical Information Manual for recommended phraseology.

If all else fails, use plain English! Not all situations lend themselves to recommended ATC phrases or you may just forget how to say something. I was once departing an unfamiliar airport and as I called ground I suddenly realized I had no idea where I was on the airport.

The call went something like this, “Littletown ground, Cessna 12345, ummm… ” (at this point I was wildly looking around me) “I’m at the Chevron sign, ready to taxi with Delta, departing to the west.” Whew — saved by the Chevron gas sign! Ground found me and let me taxi.

Super Alloy Parts in Aviation

The first successful flights of jet engine-powered airplanes (in World War II, by the German and British military) were made with materials-limited engines of relatively modest performance. As they advanced, jet engines continued to be materials oriented.

Nonetheless, examination of materials progress since 1942 shows a spectacular series of developments that permitted uninterrupted increases in temperature and operating stress. The developments were both process- and alloy-oriented, and often a combination of the two. As a result the net 800-lb thrust of the 1942 Whittle engine has risen to the level of 65,000 lb-a factor of 80 in a little over 40 years.

Initially, cobalt-base alloys emerged as the leaders for blade manufacture, while iron-base alloys served for lower temperature requirements, disks, for example. From more or less improved conventional practice, wrought alloys, such as S-816, gave way to the coarse-grained precision-cast cobalt-base alloy parts.

Then, industry learned how to control the grain size and structure, designers learned how to live with less-than-desired ductilities, and operating temperatures climbed to 815 °C (1500 °F). Precision casting of super alloy parts, then and now, continue to play a commanding role in the super alloy world.

There were parallel developments in Ni-base systems, the valuable, flexible, and now dominant -y/,y’-strengthened alloys. Here, it took the process development of vacuum metallurgy to make possible the production of strong “high alloy” compositions by controlling the impurity levels. Then still higher alloy contents, leading to greater

strength and temperature potential, were realized through the development of remelting technologies, of which vacuum arc remelting is the most outstanding.

These developments required unparalleled efforts by research and development groups to demonstrate and evaluate the roles of alloy composition and structure, to use the benefit of purity levels previously considered unattainable, and to develop advanced techniques to further modify the structures and the chemistries to solve special problems.

Ultimately, this led to the exciting developments of directionally solidified and single-crystal blades, the latter reaching engine application only very recently.

Austenitic super alloy parts.

Throughout this period, the concern among metallurgists, designers, and manufacturers was always that the nickel-base and cobalt-base alloys ultimately would have to be replaced with higher-melting alloy systems, the refractory metals. This is hardly surprising when one realizes that increased alloying tends to produce lower-melting alloys; here were alloys being used at higher and higher fractions of their melting temperatures!

At first, major efforts were made with alloys of molybdenum and columbium (niobium). These were without success for the then-planned operating temperatures and anticipated lifetimes, but they may still hold promise for temperatures above about 1100 °C (2000 °F) if suitable coatings can be found.

Excellent strength levels were realized and some promising coatings were developed, but expected lifetimes were not realized. Later, chromium-base alloys looked to be a natural, but ultimately were not successful because of brittleness problems.

We must also mention the early trials with cermets, and the first of a series of ceramic-age developments from 1950 onwards, both of which produced interesting solid structures, but still no acceptable applications in the super alloy competition. The austenitic super alloys remained dominant.

With the advent of rapid solidification processing, alloys of still more complexity are being developed and studied, now with the advantage of even closer control over impurity segregation and structure of desired phases. Further, production of superfine grain sizes and structures in the powder metallurgy area makes superplasticity easy to achieve and use.

Nominally, cast alloys such as IN-100 and Mar-M 509 are made very strong at low and intermediate temperatures and are easily formable into complex shapes, including near-net-shapes. In the 1960s, who would ever have predicted that IN-100, a casting alloy, could be made to be superplastic and a candidate for disk applications at about 650-700 °C (1200-1300 °F)? Superplastic structures can be expected to have a major impact on super alloy technology.

ODS super alloy parts.

Finally, we are beginning to see significant applications of ODS (oxide-dispersion-strengthened) alloys, again using a blend of processes and alloying techniques developed over the intervening years. Mechanical alloying, and now the use of RS (rapid solidification; fine, fully alloyed powders), will permit use of ODS nickelbase and cobalt-base alloys to temperatures in excess of 1100 °C (2000 °F).

Use at 1100 °C (2000 °F) and above for alloys melting under 1400 °C (2550 °F)? Use in excess of 80% of the absolute melting temperature? Yes, that time has arrived. Even higher fractions of the melting point may be achieved with metalmatrix composites.

In summary, the extremely effective interplay of alloying processes with alloy compositions and structures, coupled with excellent supporting scientific studies of structures, properties, and stability have given the super alloys an engineering position never dreamed of by their early proponents!

Alternative alloys and materials are being sought but have not yet emerged. These new materials are being studied to replace or supercede super alloy parts.

Robby Davis

Robby Davis

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At CoastPrivate, we’re more than simply a jet charter company; we’re a full-service private aviation brokerage offering a wealth of solutions, from ad-hoc charter and elite jet card membership programs, to airliner charters, private jet leasing and private jet sales worldwide.

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