British company specializes in covers for aircraft and marine and land vehicles.

Founded by John and Sasha Pattinson in 2006, Air Covers Ltd. is a Welsh technical textiles design and engineering company specializing in premade and bespoke covers for aircraft and marine and land vehicles. Today, the company’s 3,000-plus designs cover more than $11.2 billion in assets worldwide.

Supporting more than 50 countries as well as defense agencies around the world, Air Covers’ mission is to reduce its clients’ maintenance burden by providing high-quality covers that protect aircraft and vehicles from the elements and other environmental threats that could increase maintenance costs or prevent equipment readiness.

In 2022, Air Covers received the Queen’s Award for International Trade, the highest independent business accolade in the United Kingdom for a business of any size.

Design and Manufacture
Air Covers performs laser scanning, 3D modeling, and CNC (computer numerical control) and industrial machining in-house for its products. The company’s covers include day covers, operational covers, and full covers and are made from textiles that perform in temperatures from -60°C (-76°F) to 80°C (176°F) as well as high winds, ice, salt, sandstorms, and extreme humidity. For hot climates, Air Covers developed a layering system whose cooling effect keeps critical equipment cooler than the ambient temperature.

Air Covers has a strong innovative streak running through every part of its operation. Using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanners, the company has modeled almost every helicopter model, from the Hiller ROE Rotorcycle to the Airbus H160. Air Covers’ exact 3D models allow for endless customization for a range of operations.

“Our civil customers are fighting wildfires, supplying Antarctic research stations, or flying an R44 off tuna trawlers, and you have to react fast,” John Pattinson explains. “One month, an operator can be flying a Super Puma for the UN in Sudan; the next, they’re offshore in the Gulf. They need our protection to reduce the maintenance burden and increase aircraft availability. This is what we do.”

Innovation Leads to Cost Savings
The United Kingdom’s AH-64D fleet in Afghanistan estimated that Air Covers products saved more than $60,000 per month per aircraft in maintenance costs. Pattinson was particularly pleased with his company’s work reducing heat sink, which stemmed from work on this project.

“The innovative convection layering we developed made a massive difference,” he says. “When we extended this to IR [infrared] cameras, our customers found they could be operated immediately after takeoff in the middle of the Afghan summer. No 10-minute wait while the cooling [took] effect.”

Author

  • Jen Boyer

    Jen Boyer is the principal of her own firm, Flying Penguin Communications. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and holds commercial, instrument, flight instructor, and instrument instructor ratings in helicopters and a private rating in airplanes. She has worked as a professional journalist and marketing communicator in the aviation industry since the early 1990s.

Jen Boyer

Jen Boyer

Jen Boyer is the principal of her own firm, Flying Penguin Communications. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and holds commercial, instrument, flight instructor, and instrument instructor ratings in helicopters and a private rating in airplanes. She has worked as a professional journalist and marketing communicator in the aviation industry since the early 1990s.