Why Do We Paint Aircraft?

id you know that there are about 550 pounds of paint that is coated on the average airplane? That amounts close to 70-950 gallons of paint used and about $200,000. Needless to say, the task of painting an airplane is no small feat and if you are just entering the realm of aviation and aviation parts, then it might benefit you to learn about what it takes to prepare a newly fledged or veteran aircraft for flight. Paint, much to every novice’s surprise, plays an essential role in that.

Why is Paint So Important

When a brand new aircraft is designed, a paint job is necessary because the paint can deter against oxidation, salts, and jet fuel spillage that can damage the metal exterior of the plane. The same goes for seasoned planes which have endured years of flight. The reason why is because paint undergoes wear-and-tear after many years and can develop corrosion, dirt, moisture, and worm corrosion. Repainting is done every 7-10 years in order to prevent such circumstances.

Step To Painting An Aircraft

1. Newly built planes can move right on to the painting process, but for planes that have been flying for years, they must first undergo paint stripping. This can be done by either sanding the paint off (which can be a lengthy process) or using the much more efficient method of spraying a solvent to let the paint dissolve naturally, typically in just 24 hours.

2. Before you move on to painting, you have to first get the plane inspected by an FAA-certified mechanic, who will have to check for cracks, loose rivets, or other defects that need repairing.

3. Now for the fun part. Painting the airplane requires 3 coats—the primer, the base coat and a top coat. Zinc chromate is often the go-to for the former and the latter is used to give the aircraft a nice shiny look. Enamel and epoxy are the types of paint used on airplanes, both of which are applied via a high-volume, low-pressure device. Once the paint is applied, it can take as little as 12 hours for the paint to dry or as long as one week.

Painting an aircraft can be a delicate process, which is why it’s so important that you have the correct parts and accessories necessary to complete the project. As the premier supplier of aviation components, NSN Purchasing can be a great source for supplying aircraft paint or for fulfilling any aircraft parts order.


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