Is This How Your Aircraft Was Repaired?

Undoubtedly duct tape is a miracle of modern science.

The Discovery Channel series MythBusters has featured duct tape in a number of myths that involve non-traditional uses. Confirmed myths include suspending a car for a period of time, building a functional cannon, a two-person sailboat, a two-person canoe (with duct tape paddles), wearable shoes, a leak proof water canister, rope, and a hammock which can support the weight of an adult male, and constructing a bridge that spanned the width of a dry dock. In the episode “Duct Tape Plane,” the MythBusters repaired (and eventually replaced) the skin of a lightweight airplane with duct tape and flew it a few meters above a runway.

Reader Dick sends along this photo of a United Express regional jet at O”Hare.

Seeing a plane repaired with what appears to be duct tape makes me think that reading FAA paperwork on aircraft repairs might be more interesting than I had previously imagined.

While this isn’t tape you’d buy in a hardware store, and isn’t at all out of the ordinary, it’s sure a site to see.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. That’s actually called “Speed Tape” and it’s approved by the FAA for temporary exterior repairs. It’s mistaken for duct tape due to the similar look. I’ve been on a delayed AA 737 flight out of DCA that was eventually cancelled because they ran out of speed tape and “another airline” would not let them borrow any!! The nose cone had a crack probably from a small bird strike.

  2. It’s probably NOT duct tape. More like it’s what’s called “speed tape” There is an FAA-approved product called speed tape that looks almost identical ( 2 inches wide, silver ) and is commonly used for temporary repairs. If you’ve never seen the proper stuff up close you won’t know the difference

  3. Rest assured, they are not using duct tape from the hardware store, it is a special product of aluminized adhesive called speed tape, which is designed for temporary aircraft repairs. But I agree, it does look scary.

  4. Hey guys, I think that’s actually a product called “speed tape.” Did you know it’s approved by the FAA for minor temporary repairs?

  5. Sorry if I’m the only one that was struck by the photo as quirky or amusing, maybe I’m just sleep-deprived off a long haul flight to I’m even quirkier than usual. As I observed in the post I’m not suggesting there was anything untoward about the repair! Just that it’s funny to watch a mechanic applying what looks like duct tape to an aircraft is all.

  6. John Tarik your nincompoop comment seems rather harsh and not enhanced by double posting it. Gary, no need to apologize!

  7. I had never heard of speed tape but figured it wasn’t duct tape being used here.

    What gets me is the horrible ladder use there. Very dangerous and probably some sort of violation.

  8. @ John Tarik – very rude. I thought it was amusing and even more so when 5 people come in at once with the answer, topped off with Matt and Roger bringing up the rear.

  9. Speed tape is amazing stuff. It’s also the only approved “temporary” repair for aircraft cargo containers. Expensive too… I think our airline pays around $100 a roll for it.

  10. Ha ha ha, yes.. I was on an USAir flight and had the shiny silvery tape all over the wing. I took a pic of it because it was quite shocking at the time… I hope that plane eventually got its wings fixed.

  11. Guys! Gary (and me, and lots of people) knew that this was not duct tape.

    Gary did not claim it was. In fact he stated “this isn’t tape you’d buy in a hardware store.”

    Case closed.

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