Aug
03
2015
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Fort McMurray’s Air Force One Detailer Provides a Presidential Shine

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For three years, Tim Alexander of Fort McMurray’s Elements of Shine dreamed of becoming a member of the elite Air Force One Detailing Team. The 30-person crew has spent more than a decade restoring, preserving, and maintaining the paint and bright work (aluminum) on the first Air Force one presidential jet on display at Seattle’s Museum of Flight. For a detailer and paint correction specialist, the selection means you have been chosen from hundreds of detailers and your skills are trustworthy on a multi-million-dollar icon of American aviation history. The historic Boeing 707-120 is the first presidential jet to go by the name Air Force One, and was a flying Oval Office for four U.S. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. 

 

A few weeks ago, Tim got the long awaited call. For a week in July, he not only worked on Air Force One, but the team began restoration on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner donated to the museum by Boeing. They then cleaned the only air-worthy Douglas DC-2, one of two historic rivals (the other, a Boeing 247) dating back to the 1930s; and finished with a touch-up shine to the Concorde “Alpha Golf”. 

Tim moved to Fort McMurray a little over two years ago from British Columbia where he used to own an automotive detailing shop. “Fort McMurray is home to very dirty vehicles from big pick-up trucks to moms with SUVs,” he says. “Making everyday drivers smile and say ‘Wow’ is where the satisfaction lies for me.”

While reading and researching how he could get vehicles shinier, Tim discovered an advanced level of detailing called paint correction. “I found Renny Doyle, Detailer of Air Force one with Detailing Success in Big Bear Lake, California,” he says. “I was skeptical at first, but after talking to him, we clicked.”

Doyle is a Master automotive and aircraft detailer and trainer, famous for his demonstrative, no-nonsense method of teaching detailing as a high-end precision skill and profitable business, restoring old, scratched, oxidized paint, back to its original luster. 

From the first day of training with Doyle in 2012, Tim discovered he had been poorly trained; and was using cheap tools and low-grade products that were anathema to successful detailers. 

“Ever since training in 2012, when the Air Force One project came around every year, I wanted to be on that crew so badly,” he admits. “I knew my skills weren't good enough yet. When I got the invite this year, it was amazing!”

Ikanasit Canada, a business development company based out of Newfoundland where Tim grew up, sponsored his trip. 

“Those planes sit out on the tarmac at the museum where Seattle’s climate and pollution wreaks havoc on the paint and aluminum. It doesn't just wash off. It is slow, tedious work holding a seven-pound polisher above your head for hours at a time, but it was worth it to share the experience with people with whom you share a passion for detailing.”

Tim is now an official member of Doyle’s Detail Mafia, a network of Detailing Success-certified detailers who take their skills all over the country to car shows, museums, auctions, tradeshows, and continued training opportunities. Tim will be interning with Doyle in a few weeks during a training class in Big Bear Lake, CA.

“Fort McMurray residents should know that just because your vehicle is aging, it doesn’t have to look old,” Tim explains. “I can restore automotive paint by removing environmental contaminants and correcting scratches, UV fading, and oxidation on the exterior to bring back the original shine.”

KIMBERLY BALLARD

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