What are the Different Windshield Wiper Systems of Aircraft?

While modern aircraft often have the tools and equipment required for instrument flight rules (IFR) for instances in which a visual reference is not safe, it can be highly beneficial to maintain sight out of the vehicle when possible. During conditions such as heavy rain, beadlets of water can gather up on surfaces, possibly obstructing the pilot’s view outside of the windshields. To remedy such issues, aircraft feature various forms of windshield wipers and systems.

The most basic windshield wiper system is one that consists of wiper blades that are powered by the aircraft’s electrical system. With a wiper blade, wiper arm, and a wiper blade or converter, beadlets of water can be brushed off of windows as would be seen with an automobile. Sometimes, wipers may be provided for both the pilot and co-pilot, each being placed on the same electrical system or on two separate systems for redundancy.

While some aircraft utilize hydraulic wiper motors, a stark majority now rely on the electrical system. To ensure that such equipment remains functional over time, regular inspections, maintenance, and replacement is required. In some instances, windshield wipers can begin to deteriorate or become nonfunctional. To remedy such issues, a qualified mechanic should be called upon to prevent the need for more intensive repairs later.

While windshield wipers are quite useful for the removal of collected water, there are also other systems that may be used in parallel to best maintain visuals during storms. With chemical rain repellent systems, the glass of the cockpit windshields can be treated with various chemicals that change the way water acts when it comes into contact with the glass surface. With a chemical rain repellent system, water will rapidly bead up to minimize visual obstructions, also ensuring that the beads are quickly removed with ease. Oftentimes, the chemical rain repellent system can be managed by the pilot, allowing them to operate a push button or pull switch to activate functionality.

Another option is a type of seal coating, that of which does not require the use of windshield wipers for functionality. As a hydrophobic coating is placed on the external surface of the entire windshield, water droplets are made to collect and roll off the windshield, ensuring that ample vision is maintained for both the pilot and co-pilot alike. Typically, such coatings are placed on the cockpit windshield of most modern aircraft, and they are often capable of exhibiting a long service life with low need for replacement.

While the aforementioned systems are the most common, many manufacturers are experimenting with various alternative systems that overcome the issues typically associated with windshield wipers. One of these is a pneumatic rain removal system that blasts heated air at the windshield to break up particles and blow them away. Additionally, the heat ensures that moisture does not freeze over. The heated air may be provided by an electric blower, and such systems are capable of maintaining visuals even when rain is heavy.

Whether you require a wiper blade, seal coating, wiper motor, or various windshield or window parts, let the experts at AOG Unlimited help you secure everything you need with unmatched pricing and rapid lead-times. AOG Unlimited is a premier purchasing platform, providing customers windshield wiper parts, aircraft bearings, aircraft fastener parts, NSN parts, aviation parts, electrical connector parts, and GSE parts for various military and civilian applications. Take the time to explore our vast inventory as you see fit, and our team of industry experts is always ready to assist you through the purchasing process however necessary. Kickstart the purchasing process today and see how AOG Unlimited can serve as your strategic sourcing partner for all your needs.


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