Dear friends and followers, welcome back to my channel,
today we’ll talk about why
most commercial airplanes are painted
in shiny white colours and the question arises
Why paint airplanes in the first place? That,
and a few more interesting facts about airplane
paint jobs in today’s video, so let’s get painting!
[Pilot radio chatter and music]
When a brand new plane rolls out of the factory,
they are very often painted in a greenish, anti-corrosive paint
so that the plane can be flown or
moved to the final assembly line and paint shop. Therefore,
they are nicknamed the green jets
and are a rare sight for plane spotters.
But once the plane arrives at the paint shop –
let’s take an Airbus A380 as an example – it takes approximately
34 painters working three shifts, each day for 15
days to wash, prepare, and paint the plane.
After six thousand working hours they’ve roughly applied
1,100 kilograms of paint onto the plane
And that procedure needs to be
repeated every seven to eight years
depending on the use of the plane and cleaning schedule.
So after applying a minimum of two layers the plane
gains a few more pounds to its dry
operating weight and even more if a third, more colourful layer
is sprayed onto it such as the company logo etc.
Therefore putting fancy detailed liveries
onto the planes is not only costly at first but
also increases the operating costs.
For example a Boeing 737 paint job can be as heavy
as 500 kilograms, which equals six passengers
Who aren’t paying for their flight and increasing the fuel consumption.
The question arises, so why even bother painting the planes at all?
So far it’s just expensive!
After the second world war paintless planes were very common.
American Airlines was particularly famous for their shiny aluminum look.
But while it saves money it
left the aircraft exposed and unprotected
especially in harsh weather conditions.
Subsequently the money they saved on fuel they
had to use to frequently polish the surface
otherwise it would have degraded and become tarnished
and besides that passengers getting on board complained
that the reflected glare hurt their eyes.
First world problems.
So very often airlines choose to maintain a clean,
white look for their airplanes.
A white paint, job unveils oil or other fluid leaks more easily,
dents and cracks can Also be located quickly.
The price for a colourful,
paint job can vary from $ 50,000 to
$200,000 depending on size and detail. Furthermore,
airlines often end up selling the aircraft to other carriers
And they will find it harder to do so
if the colour scheme is anything but white.
And sometimes you spot these airline hybrids
Meaning you see the remains of a previous livery mixed together
with a new logo. uhh,
it just looks horrible.
More reason for white airplanes are reports by search rescue teams
Who find it easier to identify white airplane debris
after a crash and rumours have it that
White airplanes are less prone to bird strikes as they are higher
in contrast compared to planes with colourful paint jobs. Therefore,
birds have more time to react
and can so avoid the approaching plane.
That to me means military airplanes,
which are painted in darker colours or camouflage colours
would encounter more bird strikes than commercial airliners.
Maybe a military pilot can comment on that please,
I highly doubt that rumour, by the way.
But the primary reason why commercial jet airplanes
are painted white is shown in this video right here
Using a laser temperature instrument
We were able to measure the surface temperature
of a black painted car indicating 162 Fahrenheit.
Comparing that to a white car parked right next to it shows 120 Fahrenheit.
A temperature difference of nearly 50 Fahrenheit. How is that possible?
White paint is 12 times more reflective than darker colours.
Consider the temperature changes an airplane’s surface has to undergo during each flight.
Cruising temperatures can be as low as minus 57 degrees,
and on landing it can be as hot as 45 degrees.
Plus the ascending heat
of black apron surfaces warms up the plane even more,
and all this can create a temperature difference up to a 100 degrees.
Adding another 20 degrees due to black paint will cause a lot
of thermal expansion stress on the metal and paint.
With time that will create tiny hair cracks.
And today’s modern airliners,
Which are partly built out of composite materials
Have real problems compensating for thermal stress.
So you could say that the airplane wears sun block rather
than a black t-shirt to protect itself from the sun. And,
as always, Concorde hits it out of the ballpark.
Engineers had to develop a unique paint especially for Concorde
because the wings heated up to 127 degrees during cruise flight.
Talking about thermal expansion right there. Side-note,
about why countries near the equator prefer driving around in white cars?
Think about it.
That’s it for today thank you very much
for your time and don’t forget a good pilot is always learning.
Wishing you all the best.
See you next week, your captain Joe.