View Full Version : Boeing: Foot and Mouth Spray Could Damage Aircraft

25th May 2001, 08:17
May 25, 2001

The Beef Crisis

Boeing Says Foot-and-Mouth Spray
Could Damage Metal Parts on Planes

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- Boeing Co. has alerted airlines that a disinfectant sprayed on airplanes at European airports to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease could damage the plane's metal parts.

Boeing sent the warning in March after several airlines asked about the effect of the disinfectant -- sodium hypochlorite or bleach -- on airplanes, spokeswoman Liz Verdier said Thursday from the company's headquarters in Seattle. Boeing did not identify the airlines that made the inquiry.

The disinfectant can cause planes' brakes, axles and landing gear to become brittle and make them wear faster than normal, a potential safety hazard, according to Boeing and Air Force officials. Ms. Verdier said Boeing does not know of any mechanical failures because of the use of the disinfectant.

Planes arriving at airports in England, France, Italy and Spain have been sprayed with the disinfectant since March to prevent the spread of the disease, according to Doug Wiser, a landing gear system engineer at Utah's Hill Air Force Base. The spray is not used at airports in the United States, he said.

Foot-and-mouth disease does not affect humans but has led to the destruction of thousands of cattle and sheep in Europe. The disease is airborne and could spread to a country through dust stuck to a plane.

Recent tests conducted by the Air Force indicate the disinfectant can corrode steel, said Maj. Samuel Hudspath at Hill Air Force Base. At least 40 Air Force planes were sprayed after landing in Europe, he said.

Hill Air Force Base maintains 80% of the landing gear on Department of Defense aircraft, much of it mailed to the base north of Salt Lake City.

"Our No. 1 concern is a phenomena where a steel part fails with no warning," said Wiser. "It could be anything -- the shock absorber, or an axle or a piston. The chemical is very unpredictable."

Mr. Wiser said he has run tests in which a small steel bar breaks under pressure after being submerged in the chemical.

A and C
25th May 2001, 09:25
Very old news ........some spanish airports tryed to spray this disinfectant on aircraft but it was stoped by prompt action by the airline engineering departments backed up by the british CAA.

25th May 2001, 11:37
as far as i know, Boeing has approved some kind of desinfectants (at least we have no problems using it).
nevertheless, rumors are TNT bae146 are affected and they investigating it together with British Aerospace.

25th May 2001, 12:45
Old news - we've had a memo for several months now warning us that it was American airports who wanted to spray bleach based stuff on the gear to prevent F&M spreading. Never seen or heard of it happening though.

Did hear of a yankee couple so concerned about the disease on their return to the US, they called the small Lakeland shop they made a purchase from and asked whether they should burn their new lambswool sweater!

Glad to say late reaction by Tony has got the thing under control at last - please come back to our country and fill our seats so I can put in my substantial pay claim this summer. Thank you.