There ain't nothin' that Texans can't fix with duct tape
American Airlines passengers surprised to see planes patched with tape
by JASON WHITELY / WFAA-TV
Posted on April 20, 2010 at 8:25 AM
DALLAS — Brad Bisallion, a passenger aboard American Airlines Flight 1203 from Toronto to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, never expected what he saw from his window seat last Friday.
A patch on the engine housing of the 737-800 appeared to be duct tape.
"First thought was: I can't believe they'd fly a plane with duct tape on the outside of it," Bisallion said. "Next thought was: We've been up here for an hour. If anything was going to happen, it would have already."
American Airlines confirmed the jet flying that route with the small patch was its plane, but the airline said what appeared to be duct tape is really called "high speed tape" in the aviation industry.
High speed tape is made of aluminum, and has a stronger adhesive than duct tape.
It's a lot more expensive, too. A half-inch wide, 60-yard roll retails for $38.95 from Aviall.
Aviation consultant Denny Kelly says airlines use it regularly. "I would be surprised if today — right now — if there's not an airplane on every airline in the United States that's not flying around with some of this stuff on it," he said.
The FAA allows high speed tape as a temporary patch. It's meant for punctures, scrapes, or surface damage.
American said its Boeing 737 last Friday had the tape applied for an approved use. It wasn't a hole, said American spokesman Tim Wagner; instead, the high-speed tape was placed over a panel with a weak thumb latch.
Similar pictures from other passengers on different planes can be found all over the Internet.
A bear looking for food tore into the fuselage of a single-engine Piper. The Alaskan bush pilot is said to have salvaged his ride home with three cases of the tape.
High-speed tape is also known as "600 mile-per-hour tape" because it can withstand temperature extremes and high speeds that jetliners fly in.
Even though insiders know it as a quick fix, it is nevertheless a sight that surprises many passengers.See Link for pictures: