All posts tagged 'refurbish'

Properly Maintaining Your Aircraft Interior for Longer Life

By Adam Doyle – Pant and Interior Sales Manager
Elliott Aviation

When an aircraft interior is new or newly refurbished, it is easy to take it for granted. However, to keep your interior looking new, you have to make sure it is properly maintained from the day you take delivery. Maintaining your aircraft interior from the early stages can help extend its life and reduce costs of future refurbishments.

Knowledge is Power

The first thing you need to consider is that you will need to be fully aware of the manufacturers of the materials in your aircraft and what they recommend for cleaning their products. The information about the material manufacturers should be readily available from whoever completed or refurbished the interior.

Knowing what you can and cannot use on a material is the most critical component of keeping your interior in the best shape possible. For instance, many dyes and chemicals in leathers can have adverse chemical reactions to certain products. Unfortunately, if you happen to accidentally use the wrong type of product and it doesn’t work, there is little that can be done to fix it.

Re-Dyed Seats

Take special precautions when attempting to clean a re-dyed seat. While a reputable shop will get to the bottom layer of the leather before dying a seat, you may run into seats that have been re-dyed multiple times that have a sticky or nappy feel. When attempting to clean a re-dyed seat, especially one that has been re-dyed many times, make sure to start in an inconspicuous area.

Stain Blocking

When undergoing a refurbishment, you can request a stain blocking treatment to be applied by the company that is applying fire retardant to your materials. This can help save you time and headaches down the road by making stains easier to remove.

Ink Marks

A common troublesome stain you might see, and one we are most commonly asked about, is ink marks. Ink marks are easier to treat on fabric as the porous materials can allow you to have multiple treatments to "push" the ink through the fabric. On non-porous materials like some ultra leathers, if you can’t get out the ink mark out with the first treatment, it will never come out.

Other Stains

Regardless of the stain, it is critically important to understand what kind of stain it is. The makeup of the stain will determine how it is treated. By knowing what kind of stain you are treating, you are able to choose the right type of cleaner. If the type of stain you are dealing with requires a chemical cleaner, let the chemical do all of the work when treating it. Otherwise you run the risk of making it worse.


As with other components of your interior, when dealing with cleaning your carpet, consult your carpet manufacturer on what types of chemicals are safe in treating your carpet. Unapproved chemicals can interfere with the flammability characteristics in your carpet. For tough stains, carpet stain extractors are available. Just make sure whatever you are using is approved by your carpet manufacturer.


For woodwork, whatever cleaning component you use should be based on the material makeup of your top-coat. Generally, polyurethane will not need much cleaning but, if you are using a chemical, be very sure that it is approved by the manufacturer as there are different blends of polyurethane. If your aircraft woodwork is laminate, most household cleaners should be okay to use.


Properly maintaining your aircraft interior starts with knowing what you can use to clean your material. Get your information from the manufacturers as to what is approved for use and make yourself a "cheat sheet" to keep with your aircraft documents. Keeping your interior clean will ensure you get the most life possible with the least amount of headaches.

Adam Doyle joined Elliott Aviation in 2000 as an interior technician after graduating from Wyoming Technical Institute. While at Elliott Aviation, Adam has earned many different promotions on the shop floor including Install Team Lead, Soft Goods Team Lead, Assistant Interior Shop Manager and Seat Shop Manager. Adam’s most recent promotion has been to Paint and Interior Sales Representative for Elliott Aviation. He uses his experience with various vendors, products and processes to educate our clients by providing direction and helping plan for future investment with realistic and accurate figures.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA). More information can be found at

Do-It-Yourself Interior

Shawn Botts

Each aircraft owner has his or her own level of involvement in the aircraft ownership process. Some simply enjoy flying their airplanes and may do simple upkeep like GPS updates. Others, like myself, enjoy getting much more involved and saving money through owner assisted annuals and various other "do-it-yourself projects."

I have a mechanically inclined background. Some of my fondest memories of childhood were working in my dad’s aircraft maintenance shop. In 2011, I bought an ugly duckling S35 Bonanza knowing it had opportunities to partake in these projects. One of the first projects I took on was refurbishing the interior.

A good interior can be the deciding factor on whether a passenger is comfortable or not in the aircraft. I could see the look on passenger’s faces when they walked up the wing walk and saw what they were going to be sitting in. I personally knew I had a great running airplane, but my interior didn’t project that image. I constantly told myself, "I can’t believe someone willingly wanted this interior!"

About six months after purchasing the airplane, I began searching for interior options. When I decided It was time to do the interior I knew I wanted it to be a hands on project. A few companies, such as Airtex, offer many "do-it-yourself" options with fantastic results. I decided to purchase my carpets from them. They have templates for just about any interior component you need. It was a very simple process because of Airtex’s great customer service. The carpets were very affordable and look great. I also bought bulk carpet from them to refurbish the kick panels. The next task was working on the side panels.

I have friends who have high end custom interiors and I have always wanted one but could not justify the 20 and 30 plus thousand dollar price tag. I also didn’t want to simply recover the old battered panels either. This led me to one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, Tim Hallock, owner of Aviation Design. Tim specializes in Beechcraft interiors and at one time was an OEM for the Bonanza and Baron lines. I met with him at Oshkosh and talked about his mail order products. He told me I had the second ugliest interior he had ever seen.

Tim’s signature side panels bring a very modern look to Bonanzas and Barons. I knew I had to have them. So Tim and I began figuring out how we could make a great interior without having the airplane in his hangar. We decided to use my old interior as a template to make new panels. I sent my old panels off to California and just a few days later Tim was calling back with the tracking number for my new panels. They arrived a few days later and all that was left were the seats.

My seats were the butt of many jokes among my flying buddies. The airplane came from Arizona and I imagine someone loved them out there. Like the side panels I wanted something a little more modern. My S model came with low back seats and small headrests. I really like the high back seats that came with later V35Bs. After doing some research with my mechanic, we decided that the new seats would fit in my airplane. I then began searching for a full set of grey seats and within a couple of weeks I found a set at Bonanza Parts. I was able to trade my old seats plus some cash to upgrade my seats. Once they arrived I decided not to recover them because they were still in decent condition. With all my interior parts in hand, I was ready for my big install.

I began the project and was pleasantly surprised at the ease of installation. The carpets simply velcro on the floor and glue onto a couple pieces near the front of the cabin. The side panels took some trimming and fitting to get them in. Tim and I talked about this and knew this was going to happen. He walked me through the process and it was a piece of cake. They fit great and the quality is unmatched. The seats simply slid onto the tracks and was the easiest part of the project. Of course it had its own set of "while you’re in there" sub-projects, such as cleaning gunk off the belly and adding sound proofing insulation. My mechanic was on hand to help with odds and ins during the project.

My do-it-yourself interior project was a fantastic experience. The entire project took me about three weekends worth of work. I get compliments on interior all the time and no longer get funny nicknames. By doing my interior myself I was able to save about 40% on the cost of a high dollar custom interior done by a shop. I definitely could have done my interior for cheaper but there were certain things I wanted to include in my project. If you enjoy working on your airplane, and want to spruce up your interior, I recommend doing it yourself. I would like to thank Airtex, Aviation Design, and Bonanza Parts for helping make this dream a reality.

End of content

No more pages to load