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How To Clean A Helicopter


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Wrote this for another purpose, then thought it might be useful/amusing here.







Everything but the windows.

1. No brushes on the windows. See Cleaning Windows below.

2. Know where the fuel tank, engine gear box, main rotor & tail rotor gear box vents are and avoid spraying water in these areas!

3. Make sure all the windows and vents are closed.

4. Dust will scratch the paint: Rinse the a/c thoroughly before washing.

5. Use plenty of soap in the wash mix: Approximately 2 parts soap to 10 parts water.

6. Some wash brushes are marked “A/C Only”. Use these to wash the painted parts of the a/c, do not use them on the skids or flight steps. Brushes used on skids or flight steps can have trapped particles of dirt or sand that will scratch the paint.

7. Dried bugs will eventually soften. Leave soapy water to soak areas of dried bugs.

8. Be gentle washing around: OAT probes, antennas, tail rotor hubs, position and strobe lights.

9. Tail rotor blades must be held/stabilized when washed.

10. Rinse often: If the soap dries there will be a soapy residue, no matter how much you rinse after. Areas where soap has dried must be washed again.



1. Dust will scratch the windows, so rinse with plenty of water before washing.

2. After rinsing, use dish soap or a/c soap and bare hands (no rings, please) to wash the windows. Soap will wash off residual 210 and help avoid waxy buildup and smudges. No brushes, clothes or sponges, please! These may have trapped particles of dirt that could scratch the windows.

3. Rinse thoroughly, and polish with 210 while still damp.




1. Polish with Prist. If possible avoid using 210 because this causes a waxy buildup that will eventually start to smudge.



1. Jet Ranger: Remove floor trays, wash trays with soap & water. Vacuum carpet. Use soap and water on a shop towel to clean dirt and mud on carpet or painted surfaces. Let trays dry completely before reinstalling.

2. A-Star: Sweep out loose debris. Wash the rubber mat with soap and water, using either a shop towel or scrub brush. Wipe up with shop towels, rinsing and wringing them out often.



1. Brush and/or vacuum. Use soap and water on a shop towel to clean dirt and mud splatters. Remove covers and launder to remove long term dirt.


Instrument Panel

1. A soft paint brush is ideal for removing dirt and dust. A shop towel with a little Prist is good for cleaning instruments.

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Thanks gents.


Hybrid: Good idea.

Jim: Got those points covered, thanks!

Pica: Didn't think of that. I'll get it next draft.

Cam: So right!! Plus if the engineers see that the driver gives a shyte, they're often more likely to go the extra mile, kilometer, whatever, and some of those annoying-but-not-critical snags will get taken care of.

Sudden: Your apprentice has been spiking your coffee w/ saltpeter...


Happy New Year,



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A helicopter is designed to fly through rain, so I tell all the newbies to spray from the front and down, if you start spraying from the back, water gets all up in the interior.


Never wash a machine when the temperatures are hovering ;) around the freezing mark.


Also, be courteous to mother nature, don't wash all the carbon off of the tailboom and into a lake or river. Oil, carbon and some soaps are not environmentally friendly.

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