Ceramic Coatings

At Airventure 2019, I attended a demonstration of Johns360 Avenger Ceramic Coating for aircraft, marine, and automotive use. I was very interested in this technology as the paint on my Cherokee 180 was over 30 years old. About half that time outdoors and half in a hangar but still, the colors especially were getting kind of chalky.

I purchased a kit from John and began work on the fuselage and tail feathers in the winter months. It was a multi step process:

  1. Wash thoroughly.
  2. Use John’s Correction Compound, a buffing compound to remove haze and other surface defects. This was the most labor intensive part, taking many hours and sore arms!
  3. Wash again.
  4. Use John’s Decon Spray to remove all traces of wax, soap, etc. prior to coating.
  5. Mix the two part coating chemistry in teaspoon quantities to cover about 2 - 3 square feet at a time and immediately buff off with a clean microfiber cloth. The emphasis is on immediately!

Not being familiar with using a power buffer and afraid of going through the paint, i did all the work by hand.

I was so impressed with the results that I ordered a second kit to complete the wings. However, I was done with hand buffing and sprung for a power buffer. John recommends 1000 to 1800 RPM. Still, I had to go around those rivets by hand but it did save about 40% of the work on those broad flat surfaces. On John’s recommendation, I just did the upper surfaces exposed to the sun, and plan on using John’s Speed Coat (less expensive and faster treatment) on the lower surfaces.

In any case, I am very happy with the results. Your mileage may vary. It’s not perfect, but much less expensive than a repaint, dirt and bugs clean off so much easier, water beads right up, and should last several years according to the vendor. It can also be maintained quickly with John’s Speed Coat ceramic spray.

If you are thinking of sprucing up your older paint, it might be worth a try. You can visit their web site for more info or PM me for lessons learned.





  • I've seen MikeJJ's plane and it looks awesome. The only problem is that it looks so good that Mike is afraid to fly it! lol :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • edited April 12

    MikeJJ and everyone;

    I should have posted sooner. I have a background doing paint work, and a brother who's company supplies professional grade paint refurbishing products to the automotive detail industry. Naturally, I purchase my products including ceramic coating from him.

    Like Mike mentioned, ceramic coating is a fantastic product.

    For anyone considering this as a DIY project, plan on a few days, even with a power buffer and a friend. The job is very labor intensive, and is far more work than a car or truck. Mike can verify. ;) You'll be washing and drying the plane at least twice (before and after buffing), and the ceramic must be applied and buffed by hand. No short cutting, but it will be worth it.

    Here are my recommendations so you don't wear your arms out:

    Use an orbital buffer. High speed buffers work well, but even at low RPM, they require skillful handling. The orbital buffer is far more forgiving, and you'll have less chance of the pad "catching" on items like antenna bases, stall indicator switch, rivets, etc.

    I buffed and applied ceramic to my plane a few years ago. To this day, it looks like it has a coating of glass. As Mike said, smashed bugs come off with nothing more than a damp microfiber towel and a gentle wipe. The other guys in the hangar are now doing the same to their airplanes.

    Mike; your results look fantastic! Way less $$ than a paint job, and will last for years.

    Here's a couple pics of my results. Sorry for the poor quality, they were taken years ago on an old phone.

    Jim "Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • One more.

    Jim "Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • I have used products from Griots Garage. I started with their compound to remove some haze and oxidation. I then applied their 3 in one Ceramic product. It just sprays on and wipes off. Very simple to do and the shine is outstanding. I use their Ceramic Speed Shine to easily remove the bugs.

  • edited April 20

    Griff, your airplane looks great! Extra sparkly! Now if I can just get the inside to match the outside 😬

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