Top Gear

Clean Wing

From $32.95 | www.sportys.com

This time of year it seems that the biggest and juiciest insects hurl themselves at my leading edges and struts with the resultant carnage to clean up after even the shortest flight, so when I saw Sporty’s was selling something specifically to deal with that problem I thought I’d give it a go. 

The Clean Wing package consists of two microfibre cloths, two pads that are similar in appearance to Scotchbrite pads (but yet are much softer than the usual maroon or green grades), and a rubber holder in the shape of a leading edge that has a couple of velcro pads inside so that you can attach either the pad or one of the microfibres. 

There’s also a very short set of instructions that emphasises, several times, the need to keep the pads and microfibre cloths scrupulously clean. Dirty gritty cloths damage paint easily, and the Clean Wing holder will make damaging your leading edge paint surface much easier! 

The pads feel pretty soft, and I guess they’ve been specified to make the removal of baked on insects easy without damaging the paint, but for me the risk was still too high, so I began by folding the microfibre in two and then letting it drop into the cup where it was held by the Clean Wing holder. With some suitable spray on the leading edge and some more on the microfibre itself I began wiping. 

The rubber material is flexible, so conforms well to the shape of the Cessna’s landing edge or its strut, you have to make sure the Clean Wing holder is entirely covered by the cloth or it rubs against the paint, and while that doesn’t result in any damage, it does produce an irritating noise to go alongside with the weird feeling you get when handling the microfibres or pads. 

My insects were baked on, so it took a couple of passes to get rid of the majority of their remains. I still wasn’t brave enough to finish the job by swapping a microfibre for one of the pads, but I did try very gently rubbing the wing with a pad, but without the help of the Clean Wing holder. Without wishing to sound like an advert for dishwasher tablets, they’re a bloody marvel, which effortlessly produced clean insect body-free leading edges with only the very lightest of pressure. A final quick wipe down with a clean microfibre and I need my sunglasses to protect me from the gleaming paint…

Ultimately, I am not completely convinced that the Clean Wing holder offers that much help. It does keep your hands more or less free of whatever liquid cleaner you’re using, it does conform to the shape of whatever you are cleaning, but I just don’t think it makes cleaning the insects off any easier.

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