Cleaning Helicopter windows

General discussion from the very important bit between the carpark and the flight line.
Always_Upright
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Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby Always_Upright » Fri Mar 21 2014, 07:47

Hi Slappers

I would be very interested to hear from owners, operators, pilots, Lames and ground staff as to the best methods for cleaning perspex windows on choppers without scratching!
What are the best cloths to use, which cleaning products, if any, or any other tips that help protect the bubbles and keep them clean.

This in house discussion came about when I was to fly a borrowed machine in which the front bubble was so badly scratched I refused to take possession and fly it, safety first but liability second!!! The owners, when informed, stated that the bubble was fine upon delivery.................Differing point of view on FINE I guess!

The discussion on preferred methods were diverse and strange at best! One visiting pilot offering to spit on the window and use his sleeve!!! (Sorry son, there is no work for you at this time!!!)

This topic in my opinion is a safety issue but owners would see it as unnecessary wear and tear of their investment.
Let me know what works best.

Safe Flying
AU
tinman
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby tinman » Fri Mar 21 2014, 08:02

A bucket of water and a microfibre cloth works just fine. No detergents needed, the bugs will come off nicely.
Some operators use Plexus or Mister Sheen, but they leave a film that, with the sun low on the horizon, can be very distracting...
bl@ckers
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby bl@ckers » Fri Mar 21 2014, 08:08

I found the best thing to be plexus or vuplex. Both work really well. You need to ensure you wipe over with a clean rag afterwards to prevent smearing.

Always making sure to wash in an up an down motion, not side to side and certainly not in a swirling motion!
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Heli
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby Heli » Fri Mar 21 2014, 08:43

I'm sure that this has been done to death but here's my two pennyworth:

Plenty of water
Good clean rag, preferably wind cheater material quality.
Don't use a sponge, it holds dirt and grit which will scratch the perspex.
Use the cloth up/down or side to side: if you clean in a circular motion you will find that the (inevitable) fine marks will be such that one will always reflect the sunlight. A constant straight line minimises the possibility of such a reflection.
Dry with a good quality chamois.
Clean with 210 or with Plexus, which will not damage or leave a residue. They're meant for aviation perspex, whereas Pledge and other domestic cleaners are not.
If you can do nothing else, rinse the screen down at the end of the day to remove bugs while they're still 'fresh'. Nothing worse than a dried on insect after a few days!
Don't forget to clean inside as well as outside the screen, too :wink:
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pohm1
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby pohm1 » Fri Mar 21 2014, 13:02

I have always found the easiest and most effective way is to tell an engineer that the windows are dirty.

P1
VENISON
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby VENISON » Fri Mar 21 2014, 13:17

I have been told water , shammy , and up and down. Reason being that all perspex over time scratches if you go side to side those scratches can reduce the visibility of wires by blending into the scratches
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Twistgrip
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby Twistgrip » Fri Mar 21 2014, 14:13

Pohm1..Gold!

Ive always used warmish water with CT40 or OMO detergent....will get the bugs and exhaust efflux off in an heartbeat. Best results if you use a shammy after a good hose down.Thence do windscreens with plexus once dry. :D
"You can watch things happen, you can make things happen or you can wonder what happened"
tailrotor
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby tailrotor » Fri Mar 21 2014, 20:18

Heavily spray the windows down first to insure that there is no dust on them then lightly wash with soap in an up and down motion and immediately spray them again to insure the soap doesn't smear or damage the window. Then clean with a shammie
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Eric Hunt
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby Eric Hunt » Fri Mar 21 2014, 21:44

And when the windows are too badly scratched to be useable, get a polishing cloth and Brasso or Silvo, and polish the scratches out little bit by little bit.

By the way, it is spelled "Chamois" not shammy or shammie, as the original cleaner is leather from the Chamois deer. Pronounced "sham-wa" but corrupted over the years to "shammy", same as "lingerie" is now said as "lon-jeray".

Try not to give us Spelling and Grammar Police such a hard time!!
The Scarlett Harlot
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby The Scarlett Harlot » Fri Mar 21 2014, 22:07

Eric,

The chamois that gives its name to the "sham-wah" is actually a form of goat, not deer.

Spelling and grammar police satisfied, but still got stabbed by the biological impulses!


Errrrgh!
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Eric Hunt
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby Eric Hunt » Fri Mar 21 2014, 22:26

Ah, got confused by the dear little goat. A bit like the Canteloupe, a little melon with long horns and lives in Africa.
Rebuilder
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby Rebuilder » Sat Mar 22 2014, 01:25

I get all obsessive over cleaning the perspex bubbles on our fleet and have tried many different ways.
I have found if you use microfibre cloths, you can build up such a static charge that you can seriously hurt yourself :shock:, not to mention i feel most of the scuffing is coming from tiny bits of dirt on the end of the microfibers!!

I use water and a soft kitten sponge after a good hose down , but I keep coming back to plexus, however I'm quite sure im scratching it a bit with plexus, there's just not enough lubrication between the surface and the cloth. What i find with plexus is that there are no cloths soft enough to apply and rub it around, without putting minute fine scratches all over it.

I'm tempted to try using a karcher to get the bugs off first before cleaning, but a bit worried about the paint nearby!
Bottom line my suggestions for long term upkeep is sponge, water, and elbow grease on the bugs!
ChicoCheco
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Re: Cleaning Helicopter windows

Postby ChicoCheco » Sat Mar 22 2014, 07:22

Some Canadian and/or Aussie heli pilots mentioned company where they're allowed to use mild soapy water after rinse/hosedown, but only by HAND. No sponges, no cloths. Any cloths etc should be used in vertical/up&down motion, as mentioned.

If anything, people could be lazy to rinse off dust/grit and pre-soften bugs enough and then rub grit on with rug or disposable cotton paper cloth, either washing or buffing w polishing product/spray.

Good intention doesn't always match quality of care and one would see way higher meticulous standards with owners, ehrm. Also if using/washing/reusing any cloths for final buffing, they need to be kept in dirt/grit free space/fashion.

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