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“As the Hangar Door Shuts” Blog - by Brooks Margolien, 9/23/13
Summer's Over! Keeping the Windows Clean...
It was murderously hot in the Northeast. Score one for a small hangar made from reflective, shiny tin as
we are able to cool it just enough with two large air conditioners. Granted, not living room cool, but way better than outside cool. But when you get right down to it, it's a shame my hangar is not cooler than my house, or someone's office. I mean if you can't expect a receptionist to answer the phone in hi 80s temps, how can you expect an airplane mechanic do his job in the high 80s and maintain a certain progress level?
Aircraft maintenance is tedious; the parts are delicate. A slip of the wrist can cost thousands, so having a climate controlled environment can only help further the process along. Two mechanics for a day at $85/hr represent a potential value of $1,360. By the end of the month, that's $27,200. Notice I say “potential”. The days are few and far between where two guys can bill out 16 hrs in a day, let alone a whole week or month. But still, $350/month of electricity looks like a bargain to me to keep the shop and mechanics comfortable while they are, say, drilling a bunch of holes in a new windshield or working underneath the instrument panel with a seat mounting bracket in the shoulder blades. Even though I'm a shorts and tee shirt guy, there is nothing like a cool breeze. Maybe that's why I have my own shop. Long sleeves optional, very optional. Hey, if I could keep a suit on in the summer, I probably wouldn't be fixing airplanes for a living.
By the way, if you are drilling holes in plastic, the Unibit works very well, even compared to the standard plastic drill which is an extra pointy twist drill. If you are using a twist drill, or whenever possible, start the hole from one side and then drill through from the other side to avoid a crack.
Since we got on the subject of drilling holes in plexiglass, can I mention that there is no better feeling than looking through a brand new windshield in a plane? We all know how nice a new car feels. That new glass is part of the sensation. The windshield in a plane is somehow just taken for granted, maybe because the flight school Cessna 150 had such a scratched up windshield, we just expected it. I cringe when I see a new demonstrator plane with murdered glass. Do not stand for it if you are buying new.
All I can say is you will not be underwhelmed by new glass in your plane. Just don't let anybody clean it for you. That's a favor destined to go wrong. To clean any windows, especially a new one, you need a bucket of warm sudsy water and Kleenex Viva paper towels or special wipes. Get that window very wet by splashing the water on and then with even more water float off the dust. The whole procedure needs to be done early in the morning or at dusk if you are outside. Once you've wet wiped, you can uses a spray polish - Nexus, Novus 1 come to mind. Let me just say that all the “scratch eliminators” are actually “tiny scratch makers” so if you used something like 210 Scratch remover on a brand new window, you won't be happy. The scratch removers have a place, as on an old windshield that's had dust rubbed into for 20 years. Please, don't use a scratch remover on glass that's in good condition. Funny enough, the old Cessna operating handbook says to wax your windows, but the more you rub, the more you scratch, but I have had good results with wax on older windows. Once your windows are no longer in the “new” category, I recommend Novus 2 as a great cleaner-wax. I always get complements from owners when I have given the windows the full treatment with this stuff.