View Full Version : Re-painting an aircraft

6th May 2004, 06:13
Hiya folks,

Now, forgive me if this question has already been answered or I'm posting this in the incorrect section:O , but I've always wanted to know how an aircraft gets re-painted.

Of course I can understand that it would all depend on the design and aircraft type, say for a example, how long would it take to re-paint a B737 or a B747?

Thanks heaps:ok:

Boss Raptor
6th May 2004, 18:37

How long will depend on the method used (as I have detailed in this previous thread), whether deep strip is required and the obvious factor how fast your painters paint and the quality/quantity of the equipment they are using

As a guide in my experience a straight all white paint on a B737, scuffing off the old livery without deep strip, will take 3 shifts of 6 to 8 men 8-9 hours each shift...the livery masking/application another 2 shifts depending on complexity and method of application - for a deep strip add at least another 3 shifts as the solvents are evil and it can be quite labour intensive work plus you have to go primer coat and possibly (usually) more than one coat of base colour

So for a good operation to do a B737 or a B747 deep strip and repaint/re-livery 4 days...clearly more than 1 shift a day and additional personnel on the 747...

Cost...just recently had a B737-200 scuffed and repainted white, two colour cheat lines and stencil body titles and tail logo $70K

7th May 2004, 03:46
Cheers for that Boss Raptor, my word, it's certainly complex isn't it!!:eek:

7th May 2004, 04:09
It's also remarkably heavy ... and becomes quite a critical issue on things like helicopters...

7th May 2004, 11:55
I am told that a reasonable respray at Air Livery SEN costs about 15000 - 18000 for a B737. As so many companies start up, dissapear and rebrand it must be a good earner. I must assume that it is tax deductable. In addition on return to lessor the a/c have to be returned in most cases to an all over white livery. Presently at SEN there are two ex Air Malta 737-200 newly US registered and in brilliant white just to tb parked out in the desert.

On top of all this cost is the loss of the a/c for however many days it takes.

7th May 2004, 14:56
I understand that when NorthWest were planning a redesign of their logo and paint job, it was done to reduce costs. The v.stab simply has less paint on it! Some of the new carriers think up the most ridiculous designs that are intricate and, therefore, costly.

The current fashion is the wavy line, after decades of straight cheat lines. These take longer to get right, so I am waiting for the tide to turn and people to stop using them. I admit bias here ... I hate wavy lines on a/c. It just looks wrong, wrong, wrong.

Incidentally, the weight and quality of paint was an issue for Concorde, especially as the stuff had to be able to go from sub-zero temps in the sub-sonic phase and then boiling point (or something) at super-sonic.

Pax Vobiscum
9th May 2004, 20:37
Is it true that AA chose their 'bare metal' colo(u)rs in order to save weight? I imagine they still have to have some sort of coating over the alumin(i)um-colo(u)red parts??

Boss Raptor
10th May 2004, 06:35
yes that is what I heard and on a fleet that size the fuel savings would have added up to a fair bit

the aluminum should be covered with a clear lacquer to prevent onset of corrosion - it was evaluated by many people in the 80's however most felt/discovered that the increased cost of corrosion related repair work exceeded the true economic savings

I have a Boeing document here which claims that by keeping your plane clean, all seals and doors etc. tight and well fitting and having a smooth (new) paint finish can account for 3% increased drag and save 0.85% fuel consumption each year

11th May 2004, 06:33
I was given to believe that white paint on the upper fuselage as opposed to natural metal (a la American) was an advantage in reducing cabin air conditioning loads and/or cabin temperatures due to reflection of sunlight. and that it all stemmed from a BOAC (ah! remember them!) experiment in the 1950s on Equatorial routes, when air con was poor and aircraft tended to be unpainted. Certainly enough benefit to offset the extra weight of the paint. Makes you wonder about liveries with dark upper fuselages (eg BMI), which sem to offer the worst of both worlds.

On a related topic I seem to recall that when the BA "tailfins of the world" livery was introduced some years ago the tails were done in pre-printed adhesive vinyls rather than paint to both reduce downtime and also facilitate changes. In which case why is it taking so many years to strip them off and replace them with the current BA standard (which is, after all, just one of those tailfin colours).

fescalised portion
18th May 2004, 16:23
AA's aircraft do not have any lacquer over it's bare metal finish. The alclad sheet that the aircraft skin is constructed from is protected against corrosion by a very thin layer of pure aluminium. This is on both sides of the metal and is very effective in the prevention of corrosion. However........If the pure outer layer is scratched or damaged, then corrosion or stress cracks can appear over a fairly short period of time, so this must be treated immediately by burnishing (polishing out), followed by crack testing and then an application of alodine (which chemically restores the corrosion protection).

Having an unpainted aircraft has a few advantages over painted:

Obviously the aircraft will be lighter in weight,but probably not as much as people might think, because the main weight in the paint on application is in the solvent or chemicals which keep it wet for applying it, most of these actually evaporate when the paint dries, so around 50% of the "in the tin " weight is lost.

It is much easier to keep an eye on any looming corrosion build-up or metal surface damage as it is not hidden under the paint.

Obviously there are no recurrent re-paints every few years which saves a lot of money! Although polishing has to be undertaken to keep the aircraft looking presentable as it can "dull" after a while.

Paint is susceptable to damage from hydraulic and engine oils, so no-touching up is necessary

codpiece face
22nd May 2004, 16:24
I would have thought with the repairs that you do Mr FP, a bit of paint to splash across it would be a blessing ha ha, check your pm lad.

Pax Vobiscum
22nd May 2004, 21:42
My bro' is production manager for the company that makes the majority of the paint (they like to call it industrial coatings) used for this purpose in the UK. He's asked me to make a request for a new Marketing Director at BA so they can change their paint scheme again - must be due for another shortly??? :p

23rd May 2004, 15:22
Livery is surely a Chief Executive's area - much too important to give to the Red Braces department ! :oh:

Think I'm joking ? Ayling came, livery changed. Ayling left, livery changed again.

23rd May 2004, 17:37
I was a pax on an ancient Indian Airlines 737. The exterior paint looked like house paint rather than a/c paint and it was not smooth, to say the least. Wonder how much drag it added!

Sharjah Night Shift
23rd May 2004, 19:27
Many years ago I had the privilege of a flightdeck visit on a Dan Air BAC 1-11 that they had leased from Tarom for a season. Anyone remember G-TARO? The captain said that this aircraft would fly about 15 kts slower for a given power setting than the rest of the fleet on account of it being painted with a knife and fork.