Pictures Of Aircraft Fixed With Duct Tape Gone Viral, Does It Really Work?

Dhir Acharya - Jun 01, 2020


Pictures Of Aircraft Fixed With Duct Tape Gone Viral, Does It Really Work?

Viral photos show maintenance workers use duct tape to fix aircraft. Is it really duct tape? What can it do to fix aircraft?

Aircraft is the largest machine that takes us to the sky, helping us transporting from place to place. With such sizes and complications, we all think that it’s hard and time-consuming to fix an airplane. But viral photos on the internet over the years seem to say the opposite with maintenance workers sticking just duct tape on a plane to keep the whole thing in one piece. How come?

Duct tape applied on aircraft
Duct tape applied on aircraft

In fact, this question has been answered before, and it’s not what it looks like.

The thing that looks like duct tape is actually called “speed tape” or “ally tape,” and it’s made of aluminum, not regular material. And here’s why it’s applied on planes.

Aircraft is regularly repaired and maintained, which is when fairings and access panels need to be removed, and the edge sealant will be removed. This sealant is an aerodynamic consideration and it minimizes moisture ingress.

But due to flying schedules, there isn’t always enough time for the correct sealant to cure.

It's actually speed tape and it's for temporary fixing
It's actually speed tape and it's for temporary fixing

Therefore, a tradesman applies ally tape as a replacement of the fillet seal, makes an entry in the Job Work order as well as the Acceptable Deferred Rectification Log. Then, the work will be scheduled for replacing the fillet seal the nearest time the aircraft is on the ground for a major maintenance period.

Different from regular duct tape, Ally tape is made of either a metal and fabric composite with an adhesive layer or thin aluminum with an adhesive layer.

In reality, the most common accident is with baggage trucks, food trucks, or stair trucks hitting aircraft, and the defects don’t affect aircraft performance. So, there’s nothing to worry about.

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