Speed tape is an adhesive tape developed for the aviation industry, allowing people to make minor repairs to aircraft with this product to hold components of a plane until more extensive and permanent repairs can be performed. Anyone who has ever looked outside the window of an aircraft and spotted what appears to be duct tape has seen speed tape in action. Although it superficially looks like regular tape, it has a few special properties making it suitable for aviation uses, and its usage is authorized by aviation authorities.
This product is an aluminumized tape. It is designed to be able to endure a range of temperatures, expanding and contracting along with the components it is attached to. When aircraft are flying high and conditions are very cold, the tape will shrink and hold its position. In warmer climes, like airports in the tropics, the tape will expand without dislodging.
Also known as high speed tape, this product is designed to resist ultraviolet radiation and solvents, staying in place even in harsh weather conditions. It is also reflective and heat conductive. As the name suggests, the adhesive backing is intended to perform even when planes are moving at very high speeds. This tape can be used on commercial aircraft, as well as private planes, and it can withstand very trying flying conditions. It was originally developed for military use, where the need for quick repairs can be critical and aircraft maintenance personnel may not have ready access to a fully equipped hangar.
Legal restrictions on the use of this adhesive tape vary. Generally, it is designed for temporary repairs to an aircraft. Maintenance personnel will need to inspect the components carefully when the plane is on the ground to make sure the speed tape is holding, and plans need to be made to get repairs underway. For an emergency, when a plane needs to be able to fly quickly and there is no time for repairs, the tape can be an adequate measure.
This product is available through aviation suppliers and it is important to purchase tapes rated for aircraft. It tends to be very expensive and supplies at hangars are guarded closely to make sure it is used appropriately and to minimize waste. Similar products are also used on race cars, and pit stop kits often include a roll of speed tape for quick repairs during the race to keep a car running.