Your Plane’s Plastic: What to do when it’s time to replace your airplane’s interiorWritten by Dick Russ
Nothing improves the looks of a plane more than paint and interior.
Many of us have wanted to change the look of our airplane’s interior plastic by either replacing it or painting it because of cracks and discoloration. As plastic parts age, they become brittle and cracked—and in many cases, just removing them will crack them.
There are certainly ways to repair a crack, such as mixing up small pieces of the PVC with MEK and bonding the pieces together. This unfortunately still leaves evidence of the crack and even after careful filling and painting, the repair in most cases will be evident.
When the project to restore my Piper Lance was just beginning, my plan was to replace just some of the interior plastic. The plane had only 1,700 hours and it had been hangared in high desert country all of its life.
I’d expected the plastic parts to be in pretty good condition, but I got a surprise when it came time to remove them. As nice as the plastic trim looked when installed, as it was being removed, many of the sections literally broke into pieces. It was apparent that the plastic had to be completely replaced.
Choosing Vantage Plane Plastics
There are several companies in our small industry that make FAA-approved replacement interior plastic parts, but none make as many pieces needed for this project as Vantage Plane Plastics in Alva, Okla. I had the opportunity to tour Plane Plastics prior to deciding on a vendor, and getting to know the company and its staff sealed the deal for me.
I was going to have to replace everything but the rear bulkhead. Since Vantage Plane Plastics does not make that part for the PA-32, I was fortunate mine was in good condition.