Do airlines use duct tape on an aircraft as a “temporary fix” for items in need of quick repair?
FlyerTalk member ContinentalFan posted the following pictures of a United Airlines 787-9 with a similar question.
Looking at the pictures, it certainly resembles duct tape.
But let not your heart be troubled. This is not a shoddy repair job or United trying to cut corners. Instead, this is speed tape. As Wikipedia defines it:
Speed tape is an aluminum pressure-sensitive tape used to do minor repairs on aircraft and racing cars. It is used as a temporary repair material until a more permanent repair can be carried out. It has an appearance similar to duct tape, for which it is sometimes mistaken, but its adhesive is capable of sticking on an airplane fuselage or wing at high speeds, hence the name.
Apparently, it reflects UV light, can contract or expand in different temperatures, is flame retardant (at least for a short period) and resistant to water. Perhaps that is why it can run hundreds of dollars just for a single roll.
The use of this tape is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and is perfectly safe. Still, there is something psychologically discomforting about seeing tape on a plane.
Are you bothered by the use of tape to repair an aircraft?