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Topic: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: c5load
Posted 2010-03-26 20:40:25 and read 7535 times.

I know it costs money to paint airplanes, and I know paint also adds about 2500 lbs to the airplanes weight, depending on the size. Has AA made an intelligent decision over time by not painting their airplanes, but just striping them instead? Isn't that saving them not only weight, but money as well b/c of the saved weight? Are there any other airlines besides AA that do not paint their airplanes?

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: BMI727
Posted 2010-03-26 20:54:41 and read 7494 times.

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
Isn't that saving them not only weight, but money as well b/c of the saved weight?

Yes, but there are certain penalties involved since keeping the finish nice requires use of chemicals, some of which I think are somewhat nasty. Plus, I want to say that some of the panels used on AA planes are a bit thicker, so they can better stand up to the tiny layers that are removed in the polishing process, but I might be wrong about that.

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
Are there any other airlines besides AA that do not paint their airplanes?

AeroMexico didn't until a few years ago when they went to white in anticipation of 787 deliveries.

Also, I should point out that years ago, Trans Texas advertised their white topped planes as being more comfortable (cooler) than polished ones.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: 413X3
Posted 2010-03-26 21:23:30 and read 7398 times.


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Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: CVG72
Posted 2010-03-26 23:06:17 and read 7206 times.

In 2005, AC stripped a 762 of its paint to study the difference in the cost of fuel. They removed something like 300 pounds of paint.


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Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: HaveBlue
Posted 2010-03-27 01:16:50 and read 7076 times.

Quoting CVG72 (Reply 3):
In 2005, AC stripped a 762 of its paint to study the difference in the cost of fuel. They removed something like 300 pounds of paint.

And the result was.....?

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: RJ111
Posted 2010-03-27 03:29:13 and read 7011 times.

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 4):
And the result was.....?

The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: FlyingColours
Posted 2010-03-27 09:38:42 and read 6808 times.

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.

Hahaha 
Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 4):
And the result was.....?

I think the end result was either negligible in terms of savings or the cost of stripping the aircraft outweighed the benefits of fuel savings.

I think it was something along those lines as they didn't bother doing it to the rest of the fleet, IIRC the 762 was to go into storage shortly so it wasn't much of a problem to use it.

Then again perhaps the cost savings were good but the fact they couldn't have unpainted Airbii meant it would be a bit pointless. Although the fact not many other airlines have opted for unpainted aircraft seems to suggest that the cost savings are considerably less than expected.

Wow I've totally confused myself... :s

Phil
FlyingColours

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: Fly2HMO
Posted 2010-03-27 11:30:30 and read 6731 times.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
Plus, I want to say that some of the panels used on AA planes are a bit thicker, so they can better stand up to the tiny layers that are removed in the polishing process, but I might be wrong about that.

I highly doubt that's the case.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: BMI727
Posted 2010-03-27 19:24:40 and read 6470 times.

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 7):
I highly doubt that's the case.

It actually is on the A300s. From an Airways article: "Thicker Alcad is now used on the AA Airbus fleet than is standard..." It also notes that Airbus was initially against polishing the A300s, but relented, and Eastern's A300s spent their whole careers in white paint.

It goes on to mention that Boeing panels are the same, but get some special attention for cosmetic reasons and that in the past, panels were visually matched.

Other interesting facts from the article:

-While polishing gives a weight advantage, it does require more maintenance than paint which includes washing and thrice yearly repolishing.
-Leaving just the belly unpainted makes inspections easier, since that is the area most likely to be damaged by ramp rash and corrosion.
-Boeing actually says that they believe that polishing adds .06-.3% to the cost of operating the aircraft.
-While dark colors add to the cooling costs of an airliner, light colors incur a larger weight penalty, since they require more coats.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: bohica
Posted 2010-03-27 21:12:49 and read 6394 times.

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 4):
And the result was.....?

The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.

Usually a previously painted plane looks awful without paint as opposed to one which has never been painted. Eastern, Western, and USAir all had previously painted planes then switched to bare metal schemes. All of them looked dull compared to an American Airlines airplane which was never painted.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: 71Zulu
Posted 2010-03-27 21:29:41 and read 6383 times.

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
and I know paint also adds about 2500 lbs to the airplanes weight,

Where did you get that number from? Sounds way high to me.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: HAWK21M
Posted 2010-03-27 22:00:12 and read 6346 times.

To keep the Unpainted surface in polished condition would require regular polishing.....Unless it was a freighter where appearence was not paramount.
regds
MEL.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: WestWing
Posted 2010-03-27 22:13:53 and read 6342 times.

Boeing says a 0.1 mm thick full livery typically adds approx 555 lbs of weight to a 747-400. (Source).

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: Fly2HMO
Posted 2010-03-27 22:23:33 and read 6337 times.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 8):

It actually is on the A300s. From an Airways article: "Thicker Alcad is now used on the AA Airbus fleet than is standard..." It also notes that Airbus was initially against polishing the A300s, but relented, and Eastern's A300s spent their whole careers in white paint.

Hmmm. You'd think with how anal the FAA is for certification those thicker planes would need an STC or something. Unless the additional thickness is in the lines of just .001mm more perhaps   

I wonder how much heavier AA's A300s were compared to regular A300s. I'm assuming less than a few pounds difference perhaps.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: j0rdan
Posted 2010-03-28 00:20:39 and read 6285 times.

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 4):
And the result was.....?

The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.

Gotta disagree with you there. Sharp looking bird if you ask me.  



Also IIRC, on the Boeing tour, the guide mentioned that darker paint colors (black, red, etc) weigh more than lighter paint colors (white).

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: BMI727
Posted 2010-03-28 01:52:30 and read 6248 times.

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 13):
You'd think with how anal the FAA is for certification those thicker planes would need an STC or something.

I'd think so too, but I can't find it.

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.

It would have looked a lot better with the old black tail scheme. Plus they should have found a different color for the nacelles.

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
Isn't that saving them not only weight, but money as well b/c of the saved weight?

Not according to Boeing.

Quote:
Though the wieght of paint adds to fuel consumption, the fuel-cost savings offered by polished surfaces is outweighed by the cost of maintaining the polished surfaces. However, because this difference is a very small percentage of operating cost, many operators decide to paint or polish their airplanes based on marketing and environmental impact considerations.
http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aer...agazine/aero_05/fo/fo01/story.html

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: longhauler
Posted 2010-03-28 07:22:11 and read 6143 times.

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.
Quoting j0rdan (Reply 14):
Gotta disagree with you there. Sharp looking bird if you ask me.
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 15):
It would have looked a lot better with the old black tail scheme. Plus they should have found a different color for the nacelles.

That aircraft was a test. Fuel burns were very closely monitored to assess any gains. Don't forget, at the time, we were contemplating $100+/bbl fuel costs. (Which, of course went much higher).

The result of the test was that the decreased fuel burn did not compensate for additional costs of a bare metal paint scheme that did not come from the factory.

For the record, had the test been successful the paint scheme would have been slightly different than the one pictured/tested. To start with, it would have been properly polished requiring about 4 times the man hours for the task. Also, there was a lot more "frost green" outlines on various parts that accented the bare metal. Granted I only saw an drawing of the planned scheme, but it looked pretty attractive. And no ... I don't have a copy of that drawing.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: srbmod
Posted 2010-03-28 10:01:02 and read 6094 times.

Quoting bohica (Reply 9):
Eastern, Western, and USAir all had previously painted planes then switched to bare metal schemes. All of them looked dull compared to an American Airlines airplane which was never painted.

That's how you can easily tell an ex-TWA a/c in AA's fleet. I remember working out at ATL back about 5-7 years ago and how the TWA LLC MD-80 family a/c in the AA colors were dull in comparison to their AA siblings.

When you consider that even DL has gone away from having bare metal as part of their livery (Going as far back as the DC-8s and Convair 880s they had a bare metal belly on their jet a/c.), it shows that airlines are definitely looking at cutting costs wherever possible. When the currently livery was introduced, they talked about how much cheaper it was to be to maintain than the previous livery. AA is definitely one of the last holdouts, but even they're going to eventually have to abandon it and not by choice either.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: DocLightning
Posted 2010-03-28 10:44:27 and read 6080 times.

The other thing is that you must remember that airplanes are probably not going to be primarily metal anymore.

From now on, airplanes will probably be made of CFRP or whichever other materials-science wonder comes along.

CFRP has the weakness of being sensitive to sunlight. Sunlight weakens the material. So CFRP planes are going to need to be painted at all times. Very fortunately, there will be no bare-CFRP liveries.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2010-03-28 20:09:44 and read 5964 times.

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
I know it costs money to paint airplanes, and I know paint also adds about 2500 lbs to the airplanes weight, depending on the size.

According to Boeing, the paint on a fullly painted (fuselage and tail) 747-400 weighs 555 lbs and 179 lbs. on a 737-700. I've never heard a figure as high as 2500 lbs. mentioned. See the table near the bottom. I think this document is about 10 years old.
http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aer...zine/aero_05/textonly/fo01txt.html

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: TZTriStar500
Posted 2010-03-28 22:44:51 and read 5913 times.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 8):
It actually is on the A300s. From an Airways article: "Thicker Alcad is now used on the AA Airbus fleet than is standard..." It also notes that Airbus was initially against polishing the A300s, but relented, and Eastern's A300s spent their whole careers in white paint.
Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 13):
Hmmm. You'd think with how anal the FAA is for certification those thicker planes would need an STC or something. Unless the additional thickness is in the lines of just .001mm more perhaps

I was in Widebody Engineering at AA then and this statement is false. Different aluminum was not used in AA's A300's and while Airbus never sanctioned stripping and polishing, AA decided to do it anyway. The skins were not Alclad and after stripping were just alodined and polished.

To answer the hypothetical on using thicker skins, no STC would be required as the TC holder would make or offer the change during the build process as an option. Also, nobody would unilaterally install thicker skins post-delivery, that would require an STC and be quite complicated and expensive to manufacture any complex contoured panels.

Topic: RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?
Username: c5load
Posted 2010-03-29 08:42:53 and read 5812 times.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 19):
I've never heard a figure as high as 2500 lbs

Now that you mention it, that number does sound high. I'm not sure where I heard it from, must have gotten some numbers mixed up.


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