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View Full Version : Rain Repellant on 737 windscreens


Tee Emm
26th Sep 2008, 15:05
A long time ago, rain repellant was withdrawn from service in favour of coated windscreens. That's fine, except coated windscreens are just about useless in heavy rain when compared to a squirt of the old rain repellant.

Talked to someone recently who swears by a commercially available rain repellant for car windscreens called Rainex (five US dollars a bottle) which she wipes with a small piece of cloth on to the windscreen of her 737 before engine start when destination forecast is for heavy rain. Her experience is that it is very effective and has enabled landing in very heavy rain which would normally prevent a safe landing and even a diversion.

Any thoughts on the subject? Another colleague uses the same brand name rain repellant in his 737 and confirmed it makes a remarkable difference in visibility when landing in very heavy rain.

spannersatcx
26th Sep 2008, 15:37
So she uses an unapproved chemical on the windscreen, let's hope it doesn't reduce the integrity of the windscreen so much that it cracks or shatters. I would tell her to stop, if she doesn't then report it to the airline/FAA, until it has been tested and approved for use!:=

Chrisbowe82
26th Sep 2008, 15:45
Used to sell this stuff in an auto parts store. Always had very positive comments on the product by everybody who bought it. Most saying they didn't bother using their wipers anymore. Wouldn't know the reg's/approvals needed for use on aircraft though...

go-si
26th Sep 2008, 15:50
Call me Mr pedantic, but HER 737 (i.e. is it her property ????)

... I used rainex on a car i had many years ago and found that when you stopped applying it you had problems, I stopped using it and 6 month's later the windscreen had to be replaced as many small "bubbles" had appeared.

blablabla
26th Sep 2008, 15:52
Yep always a good idea to carry chemicals in bottles around in ones flight case and into the Flight Deck and then apply these non-approved chemicals to a window that already has a treated surface for rain reppellent. I personally carry a Can of Car Windshield De-ice spray and a scraper to, which is always handy for those frosty winter mornings when I arrive to my 737

spinnaker
26th Sep 2008, 17:01
What kind of rain is this lady flying through, that the wipers on full chat don't clear enough water for her to see to make a safe landing. If, of course the rain is that heavy, I start thinking Cb and flooded runway, possibly. I really have serious doubts about using non-standard procedures and chemicals. What else does she do that's non-standard?

jammydonut
26th Sep 2008, 17:14
RainX or other water/misting dispersement products are fine on glass and have no chance of damage however use on Perspex or other acrylics is not recommended

con-pilot
26th Sep 2008, 17:38
'RainX' works fine as does windshield wipers. I never saw the need to use 'RainX', but some people hate the noise that the windshield wipers make.

I must admit that every aircraft I have ever flown with windshield wipers, when used they are very noisy.

Iceman49
26th Sep 2008, 19:42
I'm with spinnaker, if the wipers on full don't cut it...get out, but then again its always exciting going down the runway sideways in a 73. I would be more interested in the hydroplanning issue rather than the rainx.

glhcarl
26th Sep 2008, 19:56
I used rainex on a car i had many years ago and found that when you stopped applying it you had problems, I stopped using it and 6 month's later the windscreen had to be replaced as many small "bubbles" had appeared.
Are you saying that RainX actually eat through the glass to the middle vinyl layer? That is where the bubbles would form?

glhcarl
26th Sep 2008, 20:03
So she uses an unapproved chemical on the windscreen,...

Standard procedure to remove rain repellant stains from windscreens was to use Coke Cola. However, I never saw it on the approved chemical list either.

WindSheer
26th Sep 2008, 20:04
Ah, so rainx is perfectly safe on cars, and other road vehicles, but is not safe enough for multi layer aerospace glass strong enough to survive impacts and enormous cabin pressure.

I agree with the posts above!
Make sure you dont take your own bog roll for night flights!! :E

spannersatcx
26th Sep 2008, 20:44
It may be standard procedure where you are to use coke, but it is not an approved procedure or approved chemical. Have you seen what happens leaving coins or metal in a glass of coke. :ugh:

glhcarl
26th Sep 2008, 21:00
It may be standard procedure where you are to use coke, but it is not an approved procedure or approved chemical. Have you seen what happens leaving coins or metal in a glass of coke. :ugh:

Nobody said anything about leaving the windscreen in a vat of Coke Cola. You clean the rain repellant stains off the windscreen with the Coke Cola and then clean it as usual.

stilton
27th Sep 2008, 07:11
Lots of hysteria about Rain X, at one of our hubs in the Pacific the Airline I work for is so impressed with it's performance in heavy rain they are applying it periodically to the entire 738 fleet.

A37575
27th Sep 2008, 11:49
Standard procedure to remove rain repellant stains from windscreens was to use Coke Cola. However, I never saw it on the approved chemical list either

Flew the 737 for years in the Pacific where blinding rain sometimes meant a diversion of 3-500 miles to possibly similar weather. Rainex was superb and never had problems with windscreen serviceability. The installed rain repellant was also good if the nozzles didn't clog which they often did. If we gave a squirt of repellant we logged it in the maintenance sheet so engineers could clean out each nozzle.

It was well known since the first 737 rolled out that the windscreen wipers were not only annoyingly noisy but also could not cope with anything apart from light rain. The Coca Cola remedy for cleaning away the residue of the installed repellant was excellent. Used that for years with no serviceability problems.

Of course you can always depressurise and open the side windows for a better view and old aircraft like the DC3 and DC4 had storm windows which you could open and get an excellent view through the rain or iced up front window.

NSEU
28th Sep 2008, 00:57
Ah, so rainx is perfectly safe on cars, and other road vehicles, but is not safe enough for multi layer aerospace glass strong enough to survive impacts and enormous cabin pressure.

So your car has high power, electrically heated (front) windows with polyvinyl butyral (non-glass) interlayers?

Does "rainx" have the same properties as aircraft rain repellent at high altitude and at very low and high temperatures? (Aircraft rain repellant systems have been known to leak from time to time even when it's not raining).

Wasn't aircraft rain repellent banned because of it's toxic qualities? Maybe you should be asking if it's safe to use airplane products on cars? :}

NSEU
28th Sep 2008, 01:01
which she wipes with a small piece of cloth on to the windscreen of her 737 before engine start when destination forecast is for heavy rain.

Does Occupational Health and Safety know she's leaning out of an airplane side window? :}

skiingman
28th Sep 2008, 04:06
So your car has high power, electrically heated (front) windows with polyvinyl butyral (non-glass) interlayers?
Heated? No. The rest, yes. And certain 20 year old Fords do have heated, laminated front glass.

I've got no dog in this fight but I find it odd you'd not know how a car windshield is constructed. Here in the American West many of us replace them each spring...

Heliarctic
28th Sep 2008, 10:36
We use a product called
"Rep-con" on our windshields as per the SOP.
It is the same product as "Rain-x" this one just has airplanes on the bottle.
And in the years using it have never seen it to eat either the plastic windscreens of our helicopters,or the glass of our commuters.
And i know for a fact that alot of other companies use Rain-x cause its the same product.
Ofcourse one should stick to the SOP, but Rain-x can and never will be as toxic or as corrosive as the standard repellent on big airliners.
Besides as good as coca-cola is, the chemicals that you actually have to use to remove the repellent, is a tad more corrosive and less tasty btw.....:E
Good day

411A
28th Sep 2008, 12:07
Much consternation about RainX, it appears.
Been using it for years on my private twin engine aircraft, no problems noted.
My business partner has his own personal jet, he uses RainX, and also has no problems....for the last ten years.
Many other business jet operators, likewise.
And yes, the stuff used on our airplanes is fully approved for use on same.

Sometimes, those in the airline world, who, from time to time, look down their collective noses at general aviation operators, perhaps need to emerge from their airline protected world, and see just how far advanced those of us who fly our own private airplanes, really are.

Nowhere today is this more apparent than cockpit instrumentation (glass) and indeed, the type you look through (windshields), to land.

And yes, old timers will surely remember that Coca Cola worked very well for the removal of Rainboe (the chemical type) from windshields, years ago.

Kiwiconehead
28th Sep 2008, 13:22
We bung the RainX on our Dash 8 windows every line check down here - no dramas.

NSEU
28th Sep 2008, 14:20
I've got no dog in this fight but I find it odd you'd not know how a car windshield is constructed.

Not so odd considering I've never had to change one in 30 or so years of driving. Other than knowing that they are laminates, I wasn't aware that automobiles used an identical plastic compound.

I just find it odd that people are using products that may not be approved by the FAA or the airplane manufacturer.... or health authorities. What happens when this automobile product is heated? Is it safe to use with fibreglass? Carbon composites? Does it break down into dangerous compounds in the presence of ozone, etc?

Why was aircraft rain repellent banned in the first place?

BigHitDH
28th Sep 2008, 21:03
I believe the use of Rainboe was stopped because around 90% of by weight in a solvent called freon 113 and breakdown products of this solvent can cause damage to the upper atmosphere.

Jesper
28th Sep 2008, 22:14
Why dont we just put a little prop in the front of every aircraft?
Seems to do the trick for SEPs, and then we could all get that lovely feeling of flying as it actually was during training! ;)

Id rather have a stupid prop there instead of using non approved chemicals... stuppid stuppid thing according to me.

Blip
29th Sep 2008, 00:05
A major airline in Australia applies Rain-X to the windscreens of their B737's on a regular basis (every A-Check) and engineers have it on stock around the domestic network so that they can re-apply it more often if the flight crew think it is needed.

It really does make the wipers obsolete! Brilliant stuff!!

FullWings
29th Sep 2008, 19:35
I use Rain-X on my car - super stuff! You rarely need wipers and the heavier the rain gets, the better it performs, even when getting huge amounts of water from lorries dumped on the screen.

I believe Rainboe was withdrawn from use due to the toxicity of the chemical/solvent mix. We had an incident on a 737 where the can leaked and oxygen was definitely needed.

Piper19
29th Sep 2008, 23:12
Corrosion is another reason why some rain repellants cannot be used. Think about all these screws around a window.
Some products are aggressive over time, I had the habit of putting some product in my car window sprayer, and after 5 years there are 2 nice weared strips on the hood where the sprayers are. Like someone rubbed sanding paper over the paint.
Never use products that are not approved folks, that aircraft is not a car, and never rub a dry cloth over a pax aircraft windshield. Always make sure the whole window is wetted first.

TO MEMO
30th Sep 2008, 01:15
NSEU.

rain repellent was removed due to environmental reasons,

good thing that I`m flying the A320, since rain repellent was re-installed, because airbus has a new patented type of rain repellent that is unharmfull to the environment. Not has effective has the one in the old 737, in my opinion, but good anyway!

ga_trojan
30th Sep 2008, 01:44
What kind of rain is this lady flying through, that the wipers on full chat don't clear enough water for her to see to make a safe landing.

737 windows are probably the worst design in aviation. Landing in a light shower in a 737 is like landing in a heavy shower in any other aircraft. I am surprised that the regulators don't make rain repellent compulsory

RAT 5
1st Oct 2008, 20:30
My Rain X bottles are > 100mls. How does she get it through the Stazi check point?