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How often do aircraft get an external clean?

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How often do aircraft get an external clean?

Old 1st Jun 2016, 15:06
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How often do aircraft get an external clean?

I've just been watching this video of a British Airways A380 doing a go-around because the pilot didn't open the speed brakes on the first time around and couldn't help but notice how dirty the flaps and the speed brakes are. How often do they get cleaned?

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Old 1st Jun 2016, 15:50
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Dunno. How often does it rain where it overnights...



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Old 1st Jun 2016, 16:31
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So, Quartz-1, you know for a fact that was the reason for the go-round?
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Old 1st Jun 2016, 18:11
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because the pilot didn't open the speed brakes
You'll notice the aircraft never touched down the first time. I don't know what the issue was but it wasn't that the crew didn't use the speed brakes. They are only deployed after landing.
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Old 1st Jun 2016, 18:40
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The approach to YVR can be spectacular, the crew may have wanted a second look.
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Old 1st Jun 2016, 19:02
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They possibly noticed that there wasnt a planewash there so moved on.
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Old 1st Jun 2016, 19:44
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You had me scratching my head there.
Speed brakes? .. On a 380?
Then the penny dropped..
The use of reverse thrust while airborne is generally not recommended.
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 05:54
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Had that once on a DC-8 inbound to ATH, but just the two inboard engines. Captain warned us before he did it though. It did slow us down.
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 07:04
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I think he's confusing "spoilers" with "speed brakes". Of course the spoilers won't deploy unless/until the aeroplane goes weight-on-wheels for [what I hope are] obvious reasons...

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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 07:44
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Thats not a GA, its an intentional flypast. Also so much incorrect information in this thread i'm not even going to start...
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 10:40
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Enough with the hijack about my possibly incorrect terminology about those bits at the rear of the wing which are raised before the successful landing. How about someone answering the bit about the frequency of the aircraft getting cleaned?
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 10:50
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Dirty Money?

I'm with the others regarding the reason for the "go-around" but cleaning behind the airbrakes/spoilers and flaps is not a trivial task. Come to that, even cleaning the outside of an aircraft is not as straight forward as you might imagine. The first problem is safe access. You are a long way up on an A380 and even on the wings of say a 737, it's still to far to fall. The next problem is stopping water and cleaning solutions going where you don't want them. The sealing of ports, inlets, outlets etc. has to be done very carefully and a great deal of supervision and double checking is required. Lastly, if you want to clean behind spoilers and flaps, they have to deployed and then made inoperative otherwise the cleaners will be jeopardy should that device move when they are nearby. And then we have the time element. A proper clean may take longer than a day and in that time the aircraft might have earned you 250,000 or more.

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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 10:51
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...maybe a couple of times a year, if they are lucky.

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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 11:28
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Originally Posted by Quartz-1 View Post
Enough with the hijack about my possibly incorrect terminology about those bits at the rear of the wing which are raised before the successful landing.
The point is that the spoilers are not raise FOR landing; they are raised AFTER landing (they cannot be raised unless the aircraft has weight on its wheels. So your suggestion that the pilot forgot to use them is clearly not the case.

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Old 3rd Jun 2016, 12:28
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In our operation. Short haul feet- 30 days. Long haul fleet - 45 days.
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Old 4th Jun 2016, 15:13
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Originally Posted by PDR1 View Post
The point is that the spoilers are not raise FOR landing; they are raised AFTER landing (they cannot be raised unless the aircraft has weight on its wheels.
Actually they can be deployed while the aircraft is still flying. I have seen them deployed for short periods when descending on approach to the airport. Wikipedia says
Airliners are almost always fitted with spoilers. Spoilers are used to increase descent rate without increasing speed.
It is true that they are only deployed fully and for a sustained period after touchdown.
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Old 8th Jun 2016, 10:43
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Parked next to three BA 380's the other day and noticed how filthy the fuselages looked - similar to museum aircraft parked externally for years with black water marks beneath many of the cabin windows. Not something I've noticed in such a relatively young aircraft nor other active types for that matter.

As far as spoilers and speed brakes are concerned...they're effectively the same thing doing a similar job - multiple panels mounted on the upper surface of the wings that extend into the relative airflow on selection (manually or automatically) and although the cockpit selector is placarded 'Speed Brakes', this is really only a description of their airborne function as not all of the panels extend during flight. With WoW's, all surfaces extend and collectively are described as 'Spoilers'
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Old 8th Jun 2016, 10:44
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Originally Posted by cee cee View Post
Actually they can be deployed while the aircraft is still flying. I have seen them deployed for short periods when descending on approach to the airport. Wikipedia says
Airliners are almost always fitted with spoilers. Spoilers are used to increase descent rate without increasing speed.
It is true that they are only deployed fully and for a sustained period after touchdown.
The details of exactly how much spoiler is available in flight as opposed to on the ground varies with aircraft type.

The point the others are making is that if you don't know why an aeroplane has done something, in this case a go-around, please don't try to pretend you do. What's that famous quote? "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."

To the OP: I fly freighters and they get cleaned very rarely, maybe once every C check.

Edit: Even when they do get cleaned, the flap tracks etc don't get cleaned as when they are cleaned the flaps and airbrakes are all closed up.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 21:31
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They are speed brakes in the air, normally only a reduced number will deploy whilst airborne and are used to aid roll.

On the ground they are spoilers and as some have correctly stated only work when the aircraft senses weight on wheels. In this case all will deploy and they will effectively spoil the lift of the wing, get maximum weight on wheels to aid braking.

As for the washing thing, who knows and frankly who cares. As long as long all the important bits and pieces work.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 21:42
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We used to wash our fixed wing and helicopter ourselves (by hand) every Sunday. In fact, when the fixed wing was new (2002) and during the Commonwealth Games, we washed her twice a week.
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