Redneck all-purpose repair

When Dennis Snow opened the recent ACHE annual conference and meeting with the first keynote address, he told an entertaining story about flying on a small plane that appeared to be repaired with duct-tape.  Turns out, this is standard practice.  And it only looks like duct-tape. From Salon.

Oh my god, they're duct-taping our plane!
For starters, there was no duct tape. The mechanics had applied a heavy-duty aluminum bonding tape known as “speed tape.” Embarrassing as it might appear, superficial or noncritical components are routinely patched with this material. It’s a temporary fix, until more substantive repairs are made later on. The tape is extremely durable and is able to expand and contract through a wide range of temperatures.

“We never use, and don’t even stock, duct tape,” says Charlie (last name withheld), a veteran airline mechanic with 22 years experience on Boeings. “Some of the tapes we use cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars per roll. Speed tape is one of those. Last I heard, it costs about $700 per 4-inch-wide roll. It’s approved by the manufacturer, FAA and company engineering department for certain repairs … always temporary.”


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