Custom Paint & Refinishing Services
Our full strip and paint refinishing process is as follows:
1. An A&P will conduct an initial incoming inspection of the aircraft, looking for defects, dents, signs of corrosion, mechanical issues, leaks, etc. Particular attention is given to the windows, flight controls, skin surfaces and de-ice boots. Brakes and landing gear mechanisms are inspected for leaks. Engine cowlings are inspected for evidence of oil leaks and wings are inspected for evidence of fuel leaks. If discrepancies are found, the owner will be notified and provided with repair estimates if requested.
2. Maintenance personnel will record travel limits, then remove the aircraft’s ailerons, elevators, flaps and rudder. In the case of most helicopters, main rotor blades will normally be removed prior to painting.
3. All fiberglass / plastic / composite wing tips, landing light lenses, antennas, seams (on pressurized aircraft), static-ports, exposed hydraulic lines / hoses and other components that need to be protected from stripper are masked with aluminum barrier materials and tapes. All windows are masked with paper, followed by aluminum barrier material and tape. Wheels and gear-wells are masked with 4 mil plastic. Engines and all areas behind cowl openings are masked with plastic.
4. Aluminum surfaces are chemically stripped using an environmentally safe aerospace stripper. Control surfaces and flaps are stripped separately. All stripper residue is removed, then the aluminum surfaces are power-washed to remove the remainder of the residue, using hot water and soap. A final power-wash rinse is performed using clean, hot water, then the surfaces are allowed to air-dry.
5. The aluminum barrier tapes and materials are removed. Windows, static-ports, openings and all other areas not to be painted are re-masked with two layers of paper and masking tape.
6. An A&P / I.A. performs a post-strip inspection on the aircraft and control surfaces, checking for any hidden damage, areas where old body filler has been destroyed by the stripper, and for any severe underlying corrosion damage that was not visible prior to stripping. Any defects found are photographed and forwared to the owner, and a repair estimate is created if requested. 8-hours of corrosion removal and body-work are included in our initial strip and paint estimate. If additional work is required, it is billed on a time and materials basis.
7. Areas on the aircraft that were protected from stripper by the aluminum barrier material and tape are hand-sanded as needed to remove the remaining primer and paint. Landing gear-wells and painted portions of the landing gear mechanisms are hand-sanded. All plastic, fiberglass or composite items that will need to be painted are hand-sanded as well.
8. If any body-work is required, it is performed using Duraglass, which is waterproof. We do not use “Bondo” or any other automotive filler products, as they can absorb moisture which will promote corrosion of the underlying aluminum.
9. High-build primer is applied to all areas where body-work was performed and is hand-sanded smooth. High-build primer is also used on jets or other aircraft where a super-smooth finish is required or where it is desired to cover-up all traces of flush-rivets on the surface.
10. In the case of pressurized aircraft, all pressure-vessel seams are sealed using C730B-2 or equivalent seam sealant. When this is dry, high-build primer is sprayed over the sealed areas and hand-sanded smooth.
11. All dust and sanding debris is rinsed off the aircraft, then the aircraft’s aluminum surfaces are etched by hand-scrubbing them with 13204S etching aluminum cleaner using maroon scotch-brite pads, or medium gray scotch-brite pads in areas where evidence of light corrosion was noted.
12. After the etching process is complete and the aircraft has been checked for a clean water-break, 13206S aluminum chemical conversion coating is applied to all exposed aluminum surfaces. Magnesium surfaces are treated with a different conversion coating that will not burn the magnesium skins.
13. The aircraft , control surfaces and any removed plastic, composite or fiberglass components will be air dried, then any remaining dust or contaminants are removed using tack cloths. Two coats of corrosion-inhibiting aerospace primer are then applied.
14. After the specified cure-time for the primer has passed, the base-coat is painted on the aircraft, control surfaces and removed components using polyurethane aerospace paint.
15. The design scheme, stripes and corporate / agency logos are laid out for painting on the aircraft. If the design scheme runs through the rudder or any of the control surfaces or other removed components, then these items are temporarily reinstalled to layout the stripe and logo designs. Stripe, logo and design areas are hand-sanded, then the rest of the aircraft is masked from overspray and the design colors are painted on.
16. Maintenance personnel balance-check all control surfaces in accordance with the aircraft manufacturer’s maintenance manual prior to final installation.
17. Flaps, control surfaces and all other removed components are installed in accordance with the aircraft manufacturer’s maintenance manual. Any corroded, unserviceable or incorrect hardware that was found during removal of these items will be replaced with new hardware, after consultation with the aircraft owner. If so-requested, standard non-structural screws and CAMLOC fasteners will be replaced with stainless components.
18. AC251 B1/2 or equivalent window sealant is applied around all windows prior to the aircraft receiving its final detailing.
19. Our maintenance department will inspect bearings and races for any water or stripper residue, ops-check the control surfaces, flaps, landing lights, etc. and perform gear-retraction tests on the aircraft prior to performing the final inspection of the aircraft and preparing all required 337’s and logbook entries for return-to-service.
NOTE: Executive HeliJetMX will ONLY apply primers and coatings that are designed and manufactured expressly for aerospace applications. We will NOT apply automotive paints on any aluminum aircraft. While many paint shops regularly use automotive painting products to save money, these products do not provide the same level of corrosion protection as the more expensive aerospace paints that are designed and approved for these applications.