I promised an update regarding our recent automatic BirdBath installation at the US Air Force Base in Guam so here it is! This time I included more information about how this Clear Water Rinse System was developed and some additional photos from the installation.
Aircraft of the US Armed Forces flying over salt water must be rinsed at the end of each flight day, or every two weeks if stationary, in order to prevent corrosion. Until now, aircraft rinsing has been a predominately manual and unscientific operation where crews of people would spray pressurized water at an aircraft from the ground or a man lift to remove salt residue. This method is time and resource consuming and can even cause damage to the delicate aluminum skin of the aircraft if too much pressure is applied.
To the US Air Force base in Guam which is completely surrounded by salt water, corrosion is a big concern and working to prevent it puts a huge drain on resources. Thus, Riveer was commissioned to develop a more efficient solution. Experts on pumps, filtration and power washing applications, Riveer Engineers spent well over a year designing and testing every detail of its first ever automatic BirdBath Clear Water Rinse System.
The monitors used in all four corners of BirdBath's wash pad, for example, had to be sourced and tested to ensure they would provide enough reach without being too powerful. The testing included pressure and flow testing at various heights and distances from the monitor. Our vice president, Doug Petter, ran a test of his own by putting on his foul weather sailing gear and stepping out into the line of fire so he could feel just how powerful it was. The spray felt like a gentle massage and his gear kept him dry so he was a happy camper (see photo to the right).
Another parking lot test measured the height and flow of the underwing spray bar (see photo to the right), built out of Riveer Engineered nozzles called APAFNs (Adjustable Pattern Adjustable Flow Nozzles). These nozzles were specifically designed to be able to reach the underwing of a B-52 while still being gentle enough on the landing gear. The flow, pressure and angle of each nozzle is calibrated to change based on the type of aircraft coming through to ensure that all the right areas get rinsed without blowing off delicate parts; and the nozzles themselves are incapable of blowing off and damaging the aircraft (FOD-proof!).
Testing the BirdBath's monitors with its software program (patent pending) was perhaps the most ambitious since our parking lot is only about a quarter of the size of Guam's BirdBath pad. To overcome this obstacle, monitors were arranged to spray into a 20' ISO container (see photo to the right) where it was pumped through the treatment system and then sent back to the monitors. You would not believe the current inside that container; our software engineer wanted to jump in there with his kayak.
Many other tests were conducted throughout the process, and once the system was installed in Guam it went through another series of testing and adjusting to fine-tune all of the pre-programmed spray sequences. The photos below were taken during this testing period. Then the operators, pilots and ground crew had to be trained on how to operate and maintain the system.
Since the word started spreading about this revolutionary new system, we've received a lot of interest from commercial and military organizations around the world. Looks like all of our hard work is going to pay off! We look forward to helping more and more airfields prevent corrosion in an efficient and environmentally friendly way and thank Andersen Air Force Base for putting their trust in us.