Science Explains Why Aircraft Painting is Important

For anyone who ever wondered why most planes are white or if the color actually plays an important role or it is just a matter of preference, science now has answers. And there are actually several important reasons.

Probably at the top of the list sits thermal science. According to experts, white is the best color to reflect sunlight and this makes the cabin a lot cooler. Similar to how one would wear white clothes on a hot, summer day, the same rationale applies here. Aircraft parts made of plastic and/or combined materials such as carbon fiber and fiberglass require high levels of protection from the sun’s heat for obvious reasons.

Interestingly enough, a correlation study between bird strikes and aircraft colour suggests that white aircrafts benefit from increased visibility, thus mitigating wildlife collisions. Researchers tested various gradients of light colors from white to blue demonstrating that out of all, the white enhanced aircraft distinguish ability the most.

Another important reason relates to economics. It has been observed that paint can add over 500 kilograms of weight to an aircraft. That is the equivalent of about eight passengers which is quite significant. Particularly when the issue of weight is crucial to aircraft. Heavier planes also means more fuel burnt. At the same time, if one thinks about the fact that a typical plane will need anything from 60 to 120 gallons of pain for coating, being smart about these decision can end up being huge money savers. White is everyone’s go to color and that makes it less expensive than choosing a niche color palette. In all fairness it will not matter if a plane is coated in a deep purple or a pale blue as overtime those colors will fade, oxidize and turn into white. Might as well go with that from the beginning and avoid spending massive budgets on unnecessary paintings.

Last but not least, experts underline damage control and safety as benefits. On one hand, should the aircraft suffer visible deterioration or dents, white makes it easier to spot and repair them before the issue worsens. On the other hand, in a worst-case scenario of an aircraft crashing, the color as previously shown, boosts visibility and it increases the chances of being located from the air. 

In addition to color, aircraft primers and topcoats should also benefit from superior resistance to corrosion and rain erosion. Exactly because painting an aircraft is a huge undertaking, it requires highly specialized expertise. Among the most famous on the market, Cooper Color is a company with a long-standing heritage of over two decades in automotive refinishes and aerospace coating. With the most capable hands providing services, many clients have chosen to happily rely on their business for their business.

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