As an aircraft owner, protecting your investment is of utmost importance. One of the ways to ensure that your aircraft remains in top condition is by applying a aircraft ceramic coating. Ceramic coating provides a high level of protection against environmental damage, helps maintain the appearance of your aircraft, and reduces maintenance costs in the long run. In this article, we’ll answer the 10 common questions potential buyers have about ceramic coating aircraft.
What is an aircraft ceramic coating, and how does it protect the aircraft’s paint?
Ceramic coating is a type of protective coating that is applied to an aircraft’s paint surface. It is made up of tiny particles of Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) that create a durable and long-lasting layer of protection against environmental contaminants, UV rays, and other harmful elements. The coating forms a strong bond with the paint, creating a hydrophobic barrier that repels water and prevents oxidation, fading, and other forms of damage. This in turn makes the coated surface extremely easy to clean!
The basic formulation of any ceramic coating includes:
1) Resin (polymeric material that build the backbone of the coating)
While all ceramic coatings follow this basic formulation, not all ceramic coatings are the same. And only a few are approved for use in aviation by going through stringent testing of the airlines, such as this test from Boeing for System X.
How long does a ceramic coating last, and will it need to be reapplied over time?
The duration of a ceramic coating on an aircraft largely depends on various factors such as the quality of the coating, environmental conditions, and how frequently the aircraft is used. Generally, a ceramic coating can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years on an aircraft. However, it may require periodic maintenance to keep it in top condition. Over time, the coating may wear off due to environmental factors and exposure to the elements, which may require reapplication to maintain the protection it provides. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and work with a reputable professional to ensure the coating is properly applied and maintained.
How does ceramic coating differ from traditional wax or sealant?
Ceramic coating and traditional wax or sealant differ in several ways. Firstly, ceramic coating is made up of nano particles of ceramic, while traditional wax or sealant is made up of natural or synthetic wax or polymers. Secondly, ceramic coating provides a more durable and long-lasting layer of protection than wax or sealant. Thirdly, ceramic coating creates a hydrophobic barrier that repels water and prevents oxidation and fading, while wax or sealant does not provide this level of protection. Lastly, ceramic coating requires less maintenance and provides a more permanent solution than wax or sealant, which needs to be reapplied frequently. Overall, ceramic coating is a more advanced and effective way to protect an aircraft’s paint than traditional wax or sealant.
Can ceramic coating be applied to all types of aircraft, including private jets, helicopters, and commercial planes?
Yes, ceramic coating can be applied to all types of aircraft, including private jets, helicopters, and commercial planes. The process of applying ceramic coating is similar across all aircraft types and requires a similar level of expertise to ensure proper application.
However, the amount of time required to complete the process may vary depending on the size and complexity of the aircraft. It’s important to work with a professional who has experience working with different types of aircraft to ensure that the coating is properly applied and provides the desired level of protection.
What is the application process like, and how long does it take to complete?
The application process for ceramic coating an aircraft typically involves several steps. Firstly, the surface of the aircraft is thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated to remove any dirt, grime, or other contaminants. This is done with chemical then mechanical washing, followed by a clay bar treatment to remove any embedded contaminants from the paint.
Next, the surface is polished to remove any scratches or imperfections. It is common for there to be considerable swirl and scratch marks that should be removed first so as not to lock them in with the ceramic coating.
After the surface is properly prepared, the ceramic coating is applied in multiple layers, with each layer allowed to cure before the next is applied. The exact number of layers required will depend on the type and quality of the coating used. Our prefered product (System X Max) is 4 times thicker than other ceramic coatings on the market, making the application process considerably faster.
The entire process can take several days to complete, depending on the size of the aircraft and the number of layers applied. For a Gulfstream jet expect about 4 days of ground time.
It’s important to work with a professional who has experience applying ceramic coating to aircraft to ensure that the coating is properly applied and provides the desired level of protection.
Will the ceramic coating change the appearance of the aircraft’s paint or affect its aerodynamics in any way?
Ceramic coating is designed to enhance the appearance of an aircraft’s paint and protect it from environmental damage. When applied properly, ceramic coating should not significantly change the appearance of the paint.
Ceramic coatings have a hydrophobic property that can make the aircraft easier to clean, improving its appearance and maintaining its performance.
It’s important to work with a reputable professional to ensure that the coating is properly applied and to avoid any unintended effects on the aircraft’s appearance or performance.
Does ceramic coatings for aircraft require special maintenance or cleaning products?
While ceramic coating on an aircraft provides a high level of protection, it does require some special maintenance and cleaning products to keep it in top condition. Using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning materials can damage the coating over time, and it’s important to use only recommended cleaning products that are gentle and pH-neutral.
Typically, the professional ceramic coating applicator will provide you with a maintenance schedule to have your coating inspected and “topped-off” or renewed if needed. This usually happens every 12 months.
Regular washing and proper maintenance are also essential to ensure the coating remains effective. The manufacturer of the ceramic coating may provide specific instructions on how to care for and maintain the coating, and it’s important to follow these guidelines carefully. Working with a professional who has experience with ceramic coatings on aircraft can also help ensure that the proper maintenance procedures and products are used.
Can I apply a ceramic coating for aircraft myself, or should I have a professional do it?
No, you should not apply ceramic coating to your aircraft yourself. While it’s possible to do physically, only professionals have access to aviation approved products, and for good reason. A professional will ensure proper application and maximum protection. Professional applicators have access to professional products, such as system x lifetime ceramic coating, have the necessary equipment, training, and experience to apply the coating correctly.
A professional will also warranty the application and reapply in case of an application that doesn’t perform as specified.
In the event that a DIY application of ceramic is attempted and performed incorrectly, the product is EXTREMELY hard to remove. It usually needs to be compounded off. And due to the high cost of product and the volume of product needed, this would prove a very expensive mistake.
Does ceramic coating protect against scratches and minor dings, or just UV damage and environmental contaminants?
Aircraft ceramic coating can provide a level of scratch resistance, but it is not a substitute for proper care and maintenance of the aircraft. It’s important to avoid unnecessary contact with the aircraft’s exterior and to follow proper washing and maintenance procedures.
What is the cost of ceramic coating an aircraft, and is it worth the investment?
The cost of ceramic coating an aircraft can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the aircraft, the quality of the coating used, and the level of preparation required.
Generally, the cost can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars for larger or more complex aircraft. While this may seem like a significant investment, it’s important to consider the long-term benefits of ceramic coating.
Ceramic coating provides a high level of protection against environmental damage and can help maintain the appearance and value of the aircraft. Additionally, ceramic coating requires less maintenance than traditional wax or sealant, which can save time and money in the long run.
Lastly, ceramic coating an aircraft effectively “stops the clock” on the paint job. Aircraft require fairly frequent paint jobs which are quite costly. Being able to freeze time on the paint very quickly makes ceramic coating a great choice for aircraft owners.
Overall, while the initial cost of ceramic coating may be significant, many aircraft owners find it to be a worthwhile investment in protecting and maintaining their aircraft.
In conclusion, ceramic coating an aircraft can provide numerous benefits in terms of protecting the aircraft’s paint, maintaining its appearance, and helping to preserve its value over time. However, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable ceramic coating provider who uses aviation tested and approved coatings. Proper care and maintenance of the aircraft, including regular cleaning and detailing, will also help to maximize the benefits of ceramic coating.