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Leading Edge Pitting Repair

September 11, 2013 | bevel wise

In a brightly lit hanger in North Carolina, a local Immaculate Flight team was setting up to save a Beechjet owner $10,000. . .

Unfortunately, pitting was found to be so severe on one leading edge that it had to be completely replaced; but on the other wing, the pitting (although significant) provided a glimmer of hope that it could be repaired without needing to be replaced.

The aircraft’s owner gave the team a simple mission: Save the leading edge while also keeping the piece within tolerance.

Although not generally a major concern, metal pitting can usually be addressed with a standard brightwork service which on most days is a standard affair for many teams at Immaculate Flight. However, the team working on this particular Beechjet knew the standard service utilizing mechanical buffers wouldn’t cut do much to remove the pitting found on the leading edge. Instead, the team opted to utilize a unique alternative: Sanders and various grades of sandpaper to attempt to remove the pitting.

Due to the challenge of utilizing an aggressive sander on aircraft metal, the service requires a trained eye and care to harness the power of the sander’s aggressive cut without leaving uneven ‘valleys’ in the metal, which in this case would render the leading edge useless and force a replacement for the owner.

Leading Edge Pitting

The completed leading edge restored to a like-new appearance. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Having utilized sanders to tackle smoke stacks and various inlets before, the North Carolina team leveraged its experience with 5 different grades of sandpaper and a crafty touch to begin to remove the pitting. After 12 hours, the team revealed a shocking finish: Not only was the pitting removed completely, it was restored to a like-new appearance that exceeded the tolerance level defined before the work began.

It was a success that was quickly confirmed when the surprised owner saw the final product realizing all that was left to do was to reattach the wing section and revel in the fact that he was spared from buying another new leading edge. . . A cost we’re told would have exceeded $10,000!

Note: Everyone at Immaculate Flight desires to continually evolve our products and services to keep aircraft looking great no matter what condition they’re in. To do so, we proudly offer Customized Services that include brightwork and sanding at every one of our locations. If you have an aircraft with major pitting in its brightwork or perhaps you too are trying to save yourself from a costly repair, contact us first to see if we can help. The quote is always free!