Too much salt is bad for your health. The same goes for your aircraft engine. Salt and other contaminants can react
with compressor components to cause corrosion. In the long term, this will affect their performance.
What Salt Does
When salt and sulphur—found in most aviation fuels—combine in your engine’s hot section,
sulfidation can occur and corrode engine parts. Learn how to fight sulfidation in our related
Even when your engine isn’t running, salt can still get up to mischief by rusting and pitting the compressor.
Magnesium components like the compressor inlet case and reduction gearbox housing are susceptible too. Eventually,
this corrosion will reduce their efficiency, shorten their lifespan and raise your operating costs.
The Solution: Desalination Washes
Flush out salt deposits with regular compressor and turbine washes. How often should you do this? That depends on the
operating conditions. If you’re in a salt-laden coastal environment for example, washing daily after your last
flight is recommended. Don’t let the engine sit overnight especially in regions with high humidity as humidity
increases the corrosion process.
Since the compressor wash will rinse salt deposits into the turbine, follow it up right away with a turbine
desalination wash. If you’re concerned that you may not be washing your engine often enough, conduct regular
borescope inspections of the compressor inlet case and turbine blades to check their condition.