AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 83

P&E 

EFFICIENCY

Disinfecting your airplane
Experts explain the correct way to clean avionics,
instrument panels, and personal devices
B Y D AV I D T U L I S

GA IS NOT IMMUNE to the effects of
COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that prompted the World Health
Organization to declare a pandemic on
March 11, 2020, and which continues to
challenge us nearly one year later. Dr. Brent
Blue, an AOPA Pilot magazine contributor
(see his new column, " Flight MD, " on page
24), FAA senior aviation medical examiner,
and airline transport pilot with more than
9,000 hours of flight time, offered several
measures to help keep pilots and passengers safe in general aviation aircraft.
Blue said if pilots " are sick for any
reason, they need to do a self-analysis of
their readiness to fly. " AOPA offers a free
Medical Self-Assessment online course to
help pilots better understand how to assess
their fitness for flight (basicmedicalcourse.
aopa.org).
He also suggested that if a pilot transports a person " who is sick or becomes
sick shortly after a flight, " it's important to
wipe down the aircraft's interior surfaces,
" including headsets and mics. If they have
a foam mic cover, it should be taken off
the mic and rinsed in a 10-percent Clorox
solution and dried thoroughly before reinstalling. " He also reminded pilots to clean
the underlying microphone with a disinfectant wipe, and any touch screens, as well.
Blue said to be mindful that altitude
can adversely affect sick people. He said to
thoroughly clean or discard oxygen masks
or cannulas if a sick person used one of the
devices, because " the virus is attracted to
lung tissue. "
Garmin's Joey Ferreyra, who helped
outfit avionics for the 2019 AOPA
Sweepstakes Super Cub, said " using the
wrong cleaner can be bad news for avionics. " The company published a service

advisory that informs pilots how to clean
and disinfect touch screens and function knobs on panel-mounted avionics,
with specific guidance about reducing
the spread of disease while preserving the
integrity of the avionics devices.
To begin with, aircraft owners and
pilots should use a lint-free cloth instead
of paper products-which can mar surface
displays-and a cleaner that is specified
" safe for anti-reflective coatings. "
Garmin and other avionics companies advise pilots to avoid ammonia-based
cleaners because the chemical will harm
the anti-reflective coatings on aviation

Other exposed surfaces like knobs,
buttons, and bezels can be cleaned with
a damp cloth moistened with soap and
water, but pilots should remove the soap or
soap residue to prevent buttons and knobs
from gumming up or becoming slippery.
The company reminded pilots that " many
aviation products are not rated as waterproof. Spraying or wetting the units to the
extent where moisture could go beyond the
exterior surfaces could damage the unit. "
Garmin does not recommend bleach-based
cleaners or other harsh chemicals.
Some panel-mounted touch-screen
avionics have a special screen-cleaning

Garmin published a service advisory that
informs pilots how to clean and disinfect
touch screens and function knobs on
panel-mounted avionics, with specific guidance
about reducing the spread of disease while
preserving the integrity of the avionics devices.
display screens. The G1000 series has a
special anti-reflective coating found on
many other Garmin products that is " very
sensitive to skin oils, waxes, and abrasive
cleaners. Cleaners containing ammonia
will harm the anti-reflective coating, " the
company said.
Disinfecting solutions of 70-percent
isopropyl alcohol are acceptable and provide the " best combination of bactericidal
effectiveness and equipment safety, " as
long as they don't contain ammonia. The
surface must remain wet for at least 30 seconds, Garmin said.

function button that temporarily disables touch-screen operation so pilots can
remove fingerprint smudges. A video provides additional guidance for the Garmin
GTN series of avionics.
Aircraft and portable devices also
require attention. Aviators who are not
grounded by local stay-at-home orders
during the coronavirus pandemic can
come in contact with germs on fuel pumps,
point-of-sale touch pads, and pilot lounge
computers.
MyGoFlight's Dominic " Nic " Martinez
suggested pilots adhere to the most
aopa.org/pilot AOPA PILOT | 83


http://www.basicmedicalcourse.aopa.org http://www.basicmedicalcourse.aopa.org http://www.aopa.org/pilot

AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 9
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 16
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover4
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