Home Airlines They Fixed A Plane With Duct Tape? Why Is This OK???

They Fixed A Plane With Duct Tape? Why Is This OK???

by SharonKurheg

This photo popped up on social media a while back and was so shocking at first glance that I just knew I needed to find an explanation:

As it turned out, someone else felt the same way, realized the photo was that of an easyJet plane, and asked them what’s up.

Not surprisingly, the easyJet worker wasn’t applying duct tape to the plane ;-). Although if you believed the original reply that easyJet tweeted, that’d be a little misleading:

Duct tape for cosmetic work? On a PLANE??

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A couple of days later though, easyJet gave a different answer:

So what was it?

The worker really was applying speed tape, not duct tape, to the plane and, in that case, it was perfectly OK and safe to do so.

Speed tape (also known as aluminum foil tape) is an aluminum pressure-sensitive tape used to do minor repairs on, along with other things, planes. It’s used as a temporary repair material until a more permanent repair can be done. It looks like duct tape (gee, ya THINK?) but its adhesive can stick onto an airplane fuselage or wing at high speeds, which is how it got its name. It’s approved by the manufacturer, the FAA and airlines’ engineering departments for certain temporary repairs.

So it’s all good – should you ever see what looks like a duct tape repair on a plane, don’t worry – it’s not 😉

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* Yes, I know the tweet/photo/reply is over 9 years old. Stuff on the internet never dies, it was the first time I saw it and, I bet, there will be several other people reading this who have never seen it before, either. So there 😉

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

6 comments

pmv July 19, 2019 - 3:40 pm

23 years flying for the air force including 261 combat missions. speed tape widely used and your friend!

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Gary getty November 15, 2020 - 7:25 am

You never no when your going to hit a duck.

Reply
Tawnia March 30, 2022 - 7:54 pm

If I see that…I’m still dismounting the airplane. Either fix it right the first time or find me a plane that doesn’t need this tape…no matter what you decide to call it.

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Rob May 12, 2022 - 5:36 pm

This is used on every plane by every airline. So unless you plan of driving to every vacation you take, you’ve been planes where this is used.
It’s only used on the fuselage, usually to cover up rivets and screws. It’s completely cosmetic. But if it is peeled up, then they know someone had opened a compartment or worked on a part of the plane, thus that section demands a second look.

Reply
JohnB July 16, 2022 - 6:11 pm

“Speed tape” is also very expensive. 3M makes the best and depending on the width, speed tape can vary from $100 to $500 per roll. It is universally viewed as indispensable in the airline industry.

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Tom July 16, 2022 - 10:30 pm

I started my airline career as a rampie at the maintenance hanger for a large regional airline. A coworker was asked to refresh some painted lines on the hangar floor. He masked the lines using a full $150 roll of speed tape. Our crew chief lost his mind.

Reply

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