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Would you stake your life, right now, on the condition of your equipment?
NEWS | Feb. 28, 2024

All Aircraft: Spot Paint Stripping Aluminum Surfaces

BLUF: The environmentally safe option for stripping paint from aircraft aluminum surfaces is PR-3133, NSN 6850-01-485-0097.

An Iowa Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter picks up a historic F-80 fighter jet from the Air National Guard paint facility.
Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
This article initially appeared in PS 763 (Jun 16), p. 25-26.
Mechanics, check your TMs before stripping paint from your aircraft with paint remover. If methylene chloride is authorized in your TM and there’s no other way to remove the paint, then use it on an exception basis only. That is, make it a one-time application, as it's bad for the environment.
NOTE: If your TM says to use methylene chloride for paint stripping, contact the AMCOM environmental hotline immediately. They will coordinate with the appropriate subject matter experts to ensure the TM gets updated with the correct paint stripper. You can also send in a DA Form 2028 to have the TM corrected. 

Make a note that methylene chloride has been removed from TM 1-1500-345-23 (Jul 15), Painting and Marking of Aircraft. But TM 1-1500-344-23 (Aug 16), Cleaning and Corrosion Control, still lists it for use.

The methylene chloride restriction comes from the EPA’s national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP). The recommended and environmentally safe option for chemical spot stripping on aluminum is PR-3133, NSN 6850-01-485-0097. Turco 6813E can also be used and comes with NSN 8010-01-441-6143. 
 When using these chemicals for stripping, make sure they’re used on aluminum aircraft skins and not on unapproved surfaces like steel, high strength aluminum, magnesium, rubber, plastics and composites. Check your safety data sheets for more information.

Any product containing D-limonene should not be used on aircraft because of corrosion concerns. And don’t use paint strippers that have an expired shelf life.

Anytime you strip paint, work with your maintenance contractor or senior mechanic to ensure that proper techniques, procedures and safety measures are in place to prevent mishaps.

Surfaces other than aluminum aircraft skins that could be exposed to paint stripper should be protected like the TM says. Not protecting these surfaces can cause corrosion or hydrogen embrittlement leading to potential failure. Not only must you protect non-aluminum parts but also yourself!

If you need more information, contact the AMCOM Environmental Hotline, DSN 876-1711, (256) 313-1711 or email:

Editor’s Note: Edits have been made to the original version of this article for clarity and accuracy and to bring it current.
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