WILLMAR, MINN. – Owners of Mooney aircraft can now have their leaky fuel tanks repaired with a unique process developed by former Willmar Air Service owner, Bruce Jaeger, and one of his technicians, Paul Beck.
A “weep’’ is the smallest of four types of leaks that if not repaired can lead to a large leak that renders the plane no longer airworthy. Leaky fuel tanks are not unique to Mooneys, but certain conditions such as leaving the plane in a hot environment, leaving tanks empty or dry, and stress from landings cause older sealant to become less flexible and result in leakage.
Beck and Jaeger began investigating the chemical process in 2000. They found a chemical that worked and developed the equipment to perform the process. The old sealant in the fuel tank of the aircraft is removed with a chemical stripper that is sprayed into the tank that strips the old sealant down to bare metal. The tank is then washed, dried and resealed.
The process replaces the task of scraping out the old sealant by hand. The task is more difficult because Mooney fuel tanks are part of the airplane’s structure and cannot be removed. Access to the tanks is gained by removing panels from the underside of the wing.
Jaeger sold Willmar Air Service to Brian Negen in 2008, who renamed the company “Maximum Cruise Aviation.” Negen sold the fuel tank repair business to Paul Beck in 2010, which is called “Weep No More.”
Although Mooney aircraft are currently not being built, there are more than 10,000 Mooney airplanes worldwide, including 6,000 in the United States. That means plenty of business for Weep No More. Beck has already expanded to Europe with a maintenance facility in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.