aircraft adhesive

Why Aviation Tape Is Boring

For the non-engineer, aviation tape is something you play with in arts and crafts. aviation-tape

It’s boring and brings me back to my childhood days of having to open birthday gifts that my friends’ mothers over taped. Scratching, clawing, and banging the gifts trying to get through the tape’s adhesive structure.

The difficulties of childhood. I can only reminisce on how the 3M Scotch tape created so much stress for me in my younger years.

Back to reality!

The boring truth of tape...adhesion

Recently, a low-cost airline carrier received tons of intense reactions about passengers complaining that the airline used duct tape to repair its aircraft windshield. Talk about fear of flying! This is not duct tape-but a speed tape used to do a temporary fix, while waiting for an extensive repair.

As boring as it may sound, aviation tape has many indispensable uses.

The adhesive quality of aviation tape.

According to 3M “Adhesion is the molecular force of attraction between unlike materials. The strength of attraction is determined by the surface energy of the material. The higher the surface energy, the greater the molecular attraction. The lower the surface energy, the weaker the attractive forces.”

Snooze, boring, now wake up!!

Aviation tape is boring for the following reasons:

  • It sticks to things, that's it.
  • It’s flat and comes in a roll.
  • Colors are usually bland.
  • It’s primary purpose is simple, at least to most people.
  • It’s terrible when it sticks to you.
  • Your friends can hang a sign on your back without you knowing.

Oh the simplicity, but tape is much different in the aviation world.

Boring or not, it’s a marvelous feat of ingenuity and has hundreds of uses in the aircraft maintenance world.

The importance of aircraft tape

Tape is far beyond a characteristic of just sticking to things. Fly-away tapes are used in the construction of aircraft such as:

  • cargo bay seaming
  • moisture barrier
  • mounting
  • sound damping
  • heat shielding
  • cable harness wrapping
  • anti-corrosion
  • electrical, and electronic systems

And the list goes on and on.

It also has the job of non fly-away activities such as composite bonding, flame spray, paint masking/stripping, processing, and surface protections.

Top uses of aviation tape

Whether you think aviation tape is boring or not, it’s critical to your aircraft maintenance activities.

Without it, your aircraft maintenance checks just wouldn't be the same.

aircraft tape uses

1)      Information: Airlines write notes on tape, or place tape on areas needing mechanical attention for ground crews and mechanics. Labeling damaged areas saves the ground staff at each plane station from documenting the deferred mechanical repair. There are also notes on non-functioning areas like a broken seat, damaged lavatory door lock. These notes serve as polite ways of letting the passengers know that the airline crews are aware of the damage.

2)      Ensures safety of your passengers. In reality you may have just fallen asleep but aviation tape is critical to flight. Take speed tape for example. This aluminum tape can endure a range of temperatures, expansion and contractions. It shrinks and holds its position when it’s cold and the plane is flying high. It also expands without being dislodged in warmer temperatures.

Speed tape is capable to sticking on an airplane fuselage at high speeds, hence the reason the name it 600mph tape. Clever I know.

According to, mechanical related pilot error is the 3rd cause of aircraft accidents from 1950 to 2010. So, whether you think aviation tape is boring or not, it’s critical to your aircraft maintenance activities.

3)      Guarantees the continuous operation of your business:  One of the top causes of flight cancellation or delay is the problem with aircraft maintenance.  Airlines have to shoulder their passengers’ lodging costs if the cause of delay/cancellation is their own fault, which is applicable in case of mechanical failures. Without quality aviation tapes, aircraft repair is totally impossible.

If your next question is, do we supply aviation tape? The answer is yes, we support many international airlines with their taping needs.

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