Keeping Your Airplane in Tune

Water is everywhere. For seaplane
operators that is a
great thing. But when it
comes to aircraft and float
maintenance, that can create
some special considerations.
One of the most
common questions we get on
the phone or when customers
stop in is "what products
should I be using to care for
my floats?" Be it grease and
lubricants, sealants, or anticorrosion
products, we do
have some recommendations
for them. By no means is this
list inclusive, but it covers the
most common products we
use and recommend, and is
a good starting point if you aren’t already
using a similar product.

Grease – HCF 605, or a high-quality marine
grade grease with at least a 500-degree
melting point. We use grease to lubricate
the wheel bearings, main gear retract
mechanisms, nose gear pivots, and rod
ends. Grease should never be applied to
the nose track itself, as the current nose trolley
blocks are made of impregnated nylon
which are designed to operate smoothly
without lubrication. Applying any sort of
product to these will cause dirt, dust, and
debris to collect, which impedes smooth
operation of the nose gear and can lead
to unnecessary wear.

Float Sealant – Sikaflex or Pro Seal, or RTV
Silicone. For sealing dry areas of the float
or applying patches to damaged areas,
our manufacturing group uses Pro Seal
890. This is a great product, but requires
a special gun to apply. Another option
which also works well is Sikaflex 201 or
252. This can also be applied to dry areas
to seal them. If the area is currently wet,
an RTV Silicone can be applied to seal the
area.

Hardware Lubrication and Protection
Grease
– LPS 2, or Boeshield T9.
Hardware should
be lubricated before
installation, either
using grease and a
brush applied to the
hardware, or by spraying
on LPS 2. Exposed
hardware can then either be protected
with grease, which can have a tendency
to collect dust, dirt, and run or rub off, or
Boeshield T9, which forms a protective
barrier on the exposed parts.

The service manuals for our floats also detail procedures
for caring for the different systems
on our floats and the products we recommend.
A quick phone call to Customer Service
is always welcome if you have other
questions. We can provide some of these
products, or help you locate them locally
as well, and are always open to questions
or suggestions if you are using a different
product or have questions about whether
your product is a suitable substitute.

Some grease, a small brush, and a few extra
minutes can go a long way towards making
sure everything runs smoothly on your
floats.