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Why So Many Bare Metal Engine Cowlings In The 80's  
User currently offlineSJC4Me From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 374 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 11947 times:

I was browsing through some of the older L-1011 pictures and noticed almost all of the photos from the 80's(ish), that the engine cowlings were bare metal. So I looked at other manufacturers in the same era and many of the Boeing/Airbus/etc. had bare metal cowlings as well. I know the idea of painting engine cowlings existed because there's pictures from the 70's on here of aircraft with it. Then, in the early 90's it seems the majority of airlines started painting them. So my question is, what sparked the engine painting craze (of the 90's?) and why did it take the industry so long to start doing it?


Unable.
33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJohnClipper From Hong Kong, joined Aug 2005, 845 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 11826 times:

metal versus composite?

User currently offlinejush From Germany, joined Apr 2005, 1636 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 11799 times:

Maybe it was just stylish and trendy then.

Regds
jush



There is one problem with airbus. Though their products are engineering marvels they lack passion, completely.
User currently offlineFlyCaledonian From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2093 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 11705 times:

The TriStar always seemed to have the thrust reverser left unpainted even when the rest of the cowling was. For example, BA painted all the cowling on their RB211-524 powered 747-236Bs in landor colours, but only the front part of the RB211-524 on the TriStar.


Let's Go British Caledonian!
User currently offlinepoz2brs From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 11612 times:

Perhaps there was a practical issue such as heat causing paint to blister or burn. Were airlines still using lead based paints that could give off toxic fumes in the eighties so left the engine cowlings unpainted for this reason?

User currently offlineCharlieNoble From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 11594 times:

Chrome was still cool back then, baby!  

Seriously, as you've described the painting of cowlings seems to have followed shortly after the widespread adoption of painted plastic bumpers on automobiles.

Probably just a coincidence.



[Edited 2011-03-02 05:06:55]

User currently offlineNorthwest727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 491 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 11494 times:

Quoting jush (Reply 2):
Maybe it was just stylish and trendy then.

I agree, just like cheat lines across the passenger windows and the glare-reducing paint of the cockpit windows of the 1960's, it was probably the style then.

The style now seems to be a white fuselage with rather boring minimalist logos and titles, with "www.thisairlineswebsite.com" plastered on the fuselage of the aircraft. Though there are some notable exemptions, such as S7, WN, and SU; but otherwise, as the airlines cut costs, so does their unique identities.

[Edited 2011-03-02 05:24:53]

User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6688 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 11441 times:

Bare metal would not work today, when nacelles aren't made of metal to begin with. And chrome is certainly not an universal taste either, around here it's considered ugly (unless in very small touches) and we can't understand why Americans love to put chrome wheels on cars.


New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offline26point2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 832 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 11266 times:

Ease of maintenance too, perhaps. Gotta keep metal polished if you want it to look cool. These days airlines could care less about this sort of thing I imagine.

User currently offlinemestrugo From Chile, joined Apr 2007, 237 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 11149 times:

Add the weight saving in the equation. You can shed a few pounds off an aircraft by leaving those zones unpainted.

It was also common to leave the aircraft belly unpainted, too. In general, the white base paint started at the middle -or a little lower- of the aircraft. Just enough to make the livery recognizable.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Udo K. Haafke



[Edited 2011-03-02 07:12:16]

User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 10988 times:

Quoting SJC4Me (Thread starter):
I was browsing through some of the older L-1011 pictures and noticed almost all of the photos from the 80's(ish), that the engine cowlings were bare metal.


It is really simple all the early RB-211 engines had all aluminum nacelle. A running change was made in production to replace the aluminum honeycomb hinged cowling doors with composite doors. The two doors were interchangeable as you can see in this photo. Engine The No. 1 has composit cowling doors, while No.3 engine doors are aluminum honeycomb.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Skyspotter



User currently offlinegatechae From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 90 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 10925 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 7):
we can't understand why Americans love to put chrome wheels on cars.

Its okay, even some of us Americans cant figure out why we like to put chrome wheels on cars...



What are these?Pancakes?*gets force fed one*Oh oh, these are delectable.Good news Flappy, I've decided not to kill you!
User currently offlineIFlyTWA From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 280 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 10925 times:

Quoting FlyCaledonian (Reply 3):
The TriStar always seemed to have the thrust reverser left unpainted even when the rest of the cowling was. For example, BA painted all the cowling on their RB211-524 powered 747-236Bs in landor colors, but only the front part of the RB211-524 on the TriStar.

I always assumed that they were left unpainted so the paint wouldn't be mismatched if the engine was installed in the #2 position.



"To express the excitement of travel" - Eero Saarinen
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 10852 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 7):
And chrome is certainly not an universal taste either, around here it's considered ugly (unless in very small touches) and we can't understand why Americans love to put chrome wheels on cars.


A person from the country that subjected the rest of the world to the Citroen DS automobiles should not use the word ugly lightly.

Just in case some of you are unfamiliar with the Citroen DS series cars:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3%ABn_DS

[Edited 2011-03-02 09:32:39]

User currently offlineCharlieNoble From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 10820 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 7):
we can't understand why Americans love to put chrome wheels on cars.

LOL this is not a universal taste here. Duller alloys or gray plastic wheel covers are far more common.


User currently offlineAntoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1572 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10788 times:

Quoting gatechae (Reply 13):
Its okay, even some of us Americans cant figure out why we like to put chrome wheels on cars...

Chrome wheels I can understand... sort of...

It's the spinning ones I don't get.

It seems to me that in at least some cases the belly of the plane was left bare as well. Since the engines were wing-mounted and thus level with the unpainted part of the fuselage, it probably made sense to leave the engine cowlings unpainted as well.



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
User currently offlinemestrugo From Chile, joined Apr 2007, 237 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10734 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 15):

A person from the country that subjected the rest of the world to the Citroen DS automobiles should not use the word ugly lightly.

Uh, I beg to differ. To me, it's one of the most magnificent cars ever created, especcially when compared with the gargantuan designs of the time. On the other side, the Ami 6... But I digress.  


User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3805 posts, RR: 29
Reply 17, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10667 times:

Quoting mestrugo (Reply 11):
the white base paint started at the middle -or a little lower- of the aircraft. Just enough to make the livery recognizable.

There was also a practical side to the reasoning behind the switch to white-painted upper fuselages on airliners as 'the norm,' which started in the early 1950s when it was found that the white surface kept cabin interiors cooler by reflecting rays of the sun. Before then, overall natural metal was in vogue...aside from logos, lettering, and stripes.

The more recent switch (within the past ~20 years) to little, if any, natural metal areas aside from leading edges and engine inlet rings, is due not only to increased used of composites (in place of metal) but also in the interest of protection from corrosion.


User currently offline26point2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 832 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10631 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 15):
ust in case some of you are unfamiliar with the Citroen DS series cars:

Is it true this car can drive on 3 wheels? Saw it on CHiPs so it must be true.


User currently offlinekaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12480 posts, RR: 34
Reply 19, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 10428 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 15):
A person from the country that subjected the rest of the world to the Citroen DS automobiles should not use the word ugly lightly.

Just in case some of you are unfamiliar with the Citroen DS series cars:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C...Bn_DS

Widely recognised as one of the greatest cars ever built; far ahead of its time and for my money, an absolute classic.

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 20):
Is it true this car can drive on 3 wheels? Saw it on CHiPs so it must be true.

Yes, it was the hydropneumatic suspension.

Anyway, getting back to planes!!

I think it was the 767/757 and A310 (and later, the A300-600) which started this trend; composites could be part of it, but I always thought it was due to better paint technology. Swissair, for example, had paint on the front section of its 743 engine cowlings and I don't think the materials changed markedly between various versions of the JT9D.


User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 681 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 9002 times:
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Interesting how some of these posts and replies go off on tangents from polished airplanes to hairy armpits and automobiles. Makes for an interesting read.
As very accurately described by Tango-Tango, it was in vogue to have polished aluminum for fuselage, wing and engine surfaces as noted in the picture of the LH 737-200. Beyond the lovers of retro liveries, you have to admit this is a good looking airplane and the appearance of a clean, polished airplane was an important marketing tool beginning in the early 70's.
At my polished belly airline, we had a team of maintenance personnel (cleaners) solely dedicated to polishing and buffing the aircraft on a regular basis, along with frequent washing. It was a big deal to make sure your airplane looked good.
Our mechanics favorite expression was "Keep the Shiny Side Down".
Composites changed this dynamic significantly, with AA being the first airline that was able to modify the skin and polish the A300 fleet, changing from the painted dull gray as delivered.
I recently flew on a newly painted DL MD-88 that sported polished wing slats, engine nacelle rims and not a smear on the white paint. A beautiful....and brand new looking airplane. Sharp looking to be how old?
Thomas



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlinetsugambler From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 302 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8839 times:

I tried to find a thread about this but I couldn't: Does anyone know whether the engine cowling on the 787 must still only be white or gray? I had read something like that, but I wasn't sure of the source or of the reason. Too bad the 787 can't have "bare metal" on its fuselage or engine cowlings!

User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6924 posts, RR: 46
Reply 22, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9094 times:

Quoting kaitak (Reply 21):
I think it was the 767/757 and A310 (and later, the A300-600) which started this trend; composites could be part of it, but I always thought it was due to better paint technology.

I think this is a big part of it. Polyurethane paints, which are almost universally used on aircraft today, only became widely available relatively recently (the 90's, according to Wiki, but I recall them being talked about earlier than that). They are far more durable than the enamels used previously.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6688 posts, RR: 12
Reply 23, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8837 times:

Quoting gatechae (Reply 13):
Its okay, even some of us Americans cant figure out why we like to put chrome wheels on cars...

I guess we should watch less of our respective movies, then. I saw Police (1985) the other day, and indeed Sandrine Bonnaire has unshaved armpits in it (full nudity, not sure you can get that movie uncensored ? ). But I wasn't talking about the past of course, chromed wheels were also in fashion here through the 50's-70's, as you can see on the DS. I'm thinking of, say, current German cars, or worse Italian ones, disfigured by chrome wheels in the US.

As for snails, it's not really my taste. I hear frogs are OK but I never had the occasion to eat some.

Back to chromed planes, like PI4EVER hinted at, it's maintenance intensive, and I read here somewhere that it also needed some nasty chemicals once in a while to polish them, so that's two more reasons why it's not gonna come back.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlineAntoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1572 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (3 years 7 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7614 times:

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 23):
I tried to find a thread about this but I couldn't: Does anyone know whether the engine cowling on the 787 must still only be white or gray? I had read something like that, but I wasn't sure of the source or of the reason. Too bad the 787 can't have "bare metal" on its fuselage or engine cowlings!

You can paint the engine nacelles on a 787 however you like, but using a pattern with multiple colors could incur a slight drag penalty, so Boeing recommends using a single color for best efficiency.



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
25 Post contains images NWAROOSTER : Early engine nacelles and cowlings were made out of aluminum. The nacelles were a were usually made with a honey combed material and covered with alu
26 Post contains images SJC4Me : Thanks to all of the informative responses. It didn't occur to me that building materials would be a major factor. I did presume that it was probably
27 JAGflyer : I'd love to see some retro-jets with actual bare metal like they used to be in the 70s/80s! Air Canada's 70th anniversary TCA A319 is just painted gre
28 ThirtyEcho : The answer is in the Bible. The bare metal B-29 begat the bare metal SAC B-47 which begat the bare metal SAC B-52 which begat the American Airlines ba
29 Post contains images Revelation : Actually, when the B-29 was begotten, it was painted olive drab. At least the first 18-20 or so of them were. Google it if you don't believe me... An
30 CanadianDC10 : How does AA do it then?
31 CharlieNoble : True, but those were assigned to Gamorrah Army Air Field and we know how that ended up.
32 Revelation : Silver/Grey paint on the CFRP/fiberglass/plastic parts. No where near as stunning as is polished aluminum, but it works.
33 N1120A : Dems fightin' words to a lot of people.
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