How Cold Spray Increases the Lifespan of Your Fleet

When an aircraft is grounded for any reason, it codes as AOG or “aircraft on ground.” The longer an AOG period is, the more profit is lost. AOG is commonly caused by mechanical issues, weather changes, or conflicts in flight schedules. The older a plane gets, the more common it is AOG for mechanical problems and repair.

When it comes to getting an aircraft back to flight, innovations have been made to speed up the aircraft repair process. Mid-America Aerotech offers a variety of solutions to make sure that your airplanes aren’t grounded for long. 

All aircraft require regular checks and maintenance

An airplane mechanic checking a propellor of a small plane seeing if it needs any cold spray repairs

Whether the aircraft is 30 days old or 30 years old, you must comply with regular inspections and repairs. Until the airplane passes these inspections, it cannot be put back into rotation.

Although new aircraft need to pass inspection, aging aircraft require more attention.

There are specific issues related to an aging fleet. Like any big investment, you’ll want to protect the aircraft and keep it in working condition for as long as possible. There are a few key tips to follow that will increase the lifespan of an aging fleet and make aircraft repair a simpler process. 

The first step to keeping an aging fleet in the air is wear prevention.

Three small aircraft being stored in air dock.

You need to store grounded aircraft properly. 

The reason for this is harsh environmental conditions which lead to corrosion. If left in humid or salty air environments, aircraft are very likely to show signs of deterioration. Even when a flight has come into contact with salty air in flight, the plane needs to be cleaned of any aggravating salty debris. 

It is important to monitor aircraft components for signs of corrosion. 

The earlier you detect imminent corrosion, the easier it will be to prevent or treat. One of the best ways to fight corrosion is to apply a corrosion preventative coating.

Cold Spray offers innovative and fast corrosion preventative coatings. 

If you notice signs of corrosion beginning to form, the aircraft must be grounded for the surfaces to be prepped for repair. 

Aircraft can incur damage while grounded.

A fuel truck filling up an airplane

Ground damage is more common than you might think. 

By 2030, ground damage to aircraft will top 8 billion dollars. Ground damage is defined as any damage that occurs to the plane while it is grounded. Examples of incidents that cause ground damage to aircraft are collisions between aircraft and ground support equipment, or GSE, such as an aerobridge, fueling truck, pushback tug, or belt loader.

Fast aircraft repair solutions will help resolve ground damage and keep flights on course.

Cold spray technology is one of the most durable surface repair options. If the aircraft experiences damage in an incident with GSE, cold spray technology can resolve the issue on-site on the same day.

Effective repairs keep your fleet flying.

If ground damage is constantly repaired haphazardly, the plane will show such wear. Until the introduction of cold spray, planes had to sit and wait for part replacement or travel hundreds of miles to maintenance, repair, and overhaul facilities (MRO facilities). 

Corrosion damage is detrimental for aircraft fleets.

A close-up of an old aircraft engine showing rust and breakage. Visible radiator, blades, internal parts and traces of metal corrosion

A force to be reckoned with, surface corrosion poses huge obstacles for aircraft. When metal is exposed to corrosive conditions, oxidation will occur. Component repair becomes necessary. Without early intervention and prevention, aircraft will be grounded for huge maintenance and overhaul jobs. Components may need full replacement if corrosion isn’t addressed early.

Overhaul of aircraft typically occurs at an MRO facility.

When a damaged aircraft requires component repair and part replacement, it often needs to be transported to a hangar facility where maintenance, repair, and overhaul occurs. 

The wait for repair in an MRO can keep planes grounded for weeks.

This is because there are so many planes to repair and traditional repair methods are slow to catch up to demand. If your aircraft needs a replacement part, wait times in MRO facilities are even longer. Luckily, increased demand for MROs is pushing construction of new facilities. 

Cold Spray technology can speed up repair times.

Instead of sitting grounded in an MRO, your aircraft can be repaired on-site. This revolutionary surface coating technique gives back important flying time to your aircraft. 

You can solve structural and surface damage issues with cold spray.

newly refinished metal piece

Cold spray is a flexible solution.

You can apply cold spray on site on large surfaces and small areas alike. Depending on your needs, cold spray can act as a secondary surface coating to protect against harmful environmental factors or it can be used to rebuild word components.

You can combine materials to create a dynamic cold sprayed coating.

If your aircraft repair requires special material characteristics, the chances are that a cold spray coating can help you achieve it. Particles are deposited onto the surface through means of a high-pressure gas stream. There is no melting involved, and multiple material types can be combined at the particle stage to create a unique solution.

Let’s keep your aging fleet in great shape.

A fleet of blue commercial airplanes

You need to conduct regular inspections and maintenance.

Corrosion is only detrimental if you don’t address it. Without routine inspections, corrosion damage will go unnoticed and cause costly damage to metal components. Commercial airlines and small aircraft manufacturers alike know that regular inspections are imperative, but maintenance can slow them down.

When it comes to getting an aircraft back to flight, you can depend on innovations like cold spray coating to speed up the aircraft repair process. Mid-America Aerotech offers a variety of solutions to make sure that your airplanes aren’t grounded for long.