Plane & Pilot
Friday, July 1, 2005

Wing Dings

Smoothing out those unwanted dents may have gotten easier

The result is you learn to live with a few tiny indentations. Chances are, no one will notice them except you anyway. They don’t render the aircraft un-airworthy, and they’re more of a nuisance than anything else.

Coincidentally, I purchased a new car last year, and within a week, someone decided I needed a parking-lot door dent. As you might imagine, I was a little irritated. Fortunately, the Infiniti dealer (a fellow Mooney owner and good friend) had an expert in the art of paintless dent removal on staff, and the technician did such a good job in 30 minutes, I couldn’t tell there had ever been a dent.

Paintless dent repair for airplanes also is here, courtesy of a company called Fluxtronics Inc. of Everett, Wash. Robert Olsen, president of Fluxtronics, was in town recently showing some local FBOs the benefits of magnetic dent correction, and he agreed to use my airplane as a subject. My Mooney had only two or three insignificant dimples, but I was happy for the chance to have them reduced.

Olsen is an electrical engineer who worked for Boeing for 10 years, helping to develop different versions of the equipment he uses today to straighten skins in a variety of aircraft. While his primary clients have been airline manufacturers, operators and the military, the technology is equally applicable to corporate and general aviation.

The Fluxtronics system is most effective when applied to medium to small dents. Anything larger than four to five inches across may be difficult to work with magnets. Similarly, extremely small dings are tough to extract. The system works best on flat surfaces, but it can smooth curved leading edges as well.

My Mooney had a minor dent on the leading edge of the left wingtip. It was barely noticeable (except to me), but I was surprised at how well the Fluxtronics system sucked it out. Olsen took his time, working the metal with about 10 small shots at different angles.


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