Should you worry if you see someone taping up your plane?

Why airlines use tape to fix planes and why it shouldn’t bother you.

duct tape

Not so long ago, you may have seen a photograph of an easyJet airplane mechanic using tape to fix an engine just before take off.

Do you recall the viral brouhaha that ensued once the passenger tweeted said image?

It raised the question: Should you worry if you see this happening to your plane?

Well, let’s set a few things straight …

What may look like plain, old duct tape is actually a heavy-duty aluminium bonding tape called ‘speed tape’. And it can cost thousands of dollars per four-inch roll.

It’s a quick fix for minor impairments or superficial issues with non-critical components made until full repairs can be made later.

Now, applying tape to an engine may not seem so ‘non-critical’, but speed tape is a high-performance product that’s pressure sensitive and will adhere to a fuselage travelling around 500mph – or the cruise speed of a Boeing 777.

So, don’t fear – it’s a ‘cosmetic’ thing. If your plane needed serious maintenance it would be grounded until it was completely fixed and signed off by a plethora of engineers and mechanics.

Besides, with the cost of speed tape, it’d be cheaper for the airline to fix the plane properly, so this is not a matter of cutting corners!



    To make a comment, please register or login
    25th Nov 2017
    Also known as "thousand mile per hour tape". It works beautifully and I have used it myself and have never known it to fail. It was originally designed to facilitate 'battle damage repair". You cannot take military equipment, like tanks, aeroplanes, trucks etc, out of a battle because of minor damage, that is how battles are lost, you just patch em up and put them back into the fray. Similar techniques were used in WWII but using fabric patches not tape. Just goes to show how uninformed people can make incorrect conclusions.

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