All About Aircraft Windshield Wiper Systems

With a multitude of commercial flights being conducted worldwide every day of the year, aircraft often fly through a number of rainstorms and wet weather. To maintain visuals during flight and protect the windshield, aircraft must remove rain and wetness for safety. From basic wipers to chemical rain repellents, there are a variety of methods and rain repellent parts that airplane manufacturers employ to remove liquids from the windshield.

Just like automobiles, many aircraft utilize basic windshield wiper parts that consist of wiper blades that are operated by the aircraft electrical system. In some aircraft, the pilot and co-pilot may both have individual wiper arm controls for their respective seats. These wiper arms may be operated by the same wiper motor, or the aircraft may have each wiper arm controlled by a separate system for redundancy in case one fails. While a majority of windshield wiper parts are electrically operated on modern aircraft, some still utilize hydraulic wiper motor systems, though such hydraulics often require more maintenance to ensure their proper functionality. Electrically operated wiper blade parts should also be maintained as well, and areas such as the wiper cover should be periodically inspected and cleaned from foreign debris and contaminants.

Beyond mechanical means, some airplane manufacturers may utilize chemical rain repellents, often coming in the form of treatments to the windshield. Such chemicals often cause water to react similarly to mercury in that, once water hits the glass, it will begin to bead up so that it minimizes the amount of obstruction. As compared to windshield wiper parts, chemical rain repellent parts can provide immediate and continuous removal of liquids from the push of a button.

While chemical rain repellents are highly beneficial aircraft, they also do have some drawbacks. For one, such chemicals should not be used in dry conditions or light sprinkling of rain, as smearing can result in staining or corrosion of the aircraft skin. To avoid damages, the windshield should be cleaned as soon as possible if it is activated in drier conditions. Chemical repellents also must be applied periodically, those intervals changing depending on the amount of use and the intensity of rain. Because of their inefficiency in dry conditions, chemical rain repellents are mostly reserved for very wet conditions and routes.

Another method that does not require windshield wiper parts is to use a seal coating. Also known as a hydrophobic coating, such methods cause water to quickly bead into small droplets and roll off of the windshield to allow for pilots to have as much visuals as possible. Hydrophobic coatings are often implemented on modern aircraft, and they usually do not require much recoating or reapplication. As compared to windshield wipers, hydrophobic coatings do not smear or streak due to pressure, as well as can act immediately in heavy downpour.

Lastly, pneumatic systems may also be used to remove water through heated air, and this air may be supplied by either engine bleed air or by an electric blower. Aimed at the windshield, the electric blower or bleed air can break up water particles, allowing for easier removal of liquids. Due to using hot air specifically, such systems also prevent the formation of ice, which can be hard to remove through mechanical means such as windshield wiper parts.

If you are in need of premium rain repellent parts and chemicals, the experts at ASAP Components can help you procure everything you need to carry out your operations with ease. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, ASAP Components is a leading online distributor of aircraft components and cockpit parts that are new, used, and obsolete. Get started on the purchasing process today and receive a personalized quote when you fill out and submit an Instant RFQ.


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April 22, 2021

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