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AA Livery  
User currently offlineCannikin From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 98 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 3333 times:

My friend and I are trying to settle this question once and for all...


American's bare metal livery, is this a chrome paint or the actual skin of the aircraft? I know they don't come off the factory floor like that! I'm sure in any case, there is a coating of some sort over the skin. And if it is not paint, do they remove the chromate?

If someone could settle this for me, I'd appreciate it.


Thanks
Cannikin


[Edited 2004-10-29 14:14:27]

[Edited 2004-10-29 14:15:35]

[Edited 2004-10-29 14:16:54]

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3494 posts, RR: 46
Reply 1, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3186 times:

The bare metal you see is..... bare metal. Matched aluminum skin panels that are polished, not painted. No sealant or coating of any kind. Gray paint is used for the non-metal skin panels. From the factory the logos are painted. When replacement is required, it is a very high-quality (expensive, but cheaper than painting) decal that has a sealant applied to the edges for protection.



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineCannikin From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 98 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 3152 times:

Thank you very much for your excellent answer.

User currently offlineWilax From United States of America, joined Jun 2002, 465 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3068 times:

In addition, most planes do come off the factory floor in bare metal except newer Airbus planes. When AA started receiving their A300-605R's, they were all painted gray. American had to special order the AB6's later to be polished.

User currently onlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3494 posts, RR: 46
Reply 4, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 3064 times:

When AA started receiving their A300-605R's, they were all painted gray. American had to special order the AB6's later to be polished.

Well not quite. Airbus refused to provide matched polished aluminum skin panels for their aircraft even though AA was willing to pay the extra costs. Hence AA's A300 fuselages were originally painted gray. During early 1990's AA was studying which fleet to retire as a cost saving measure: DC10 or A300. The numbers were surprisingly close...very very close! AA eventually announced the DC10 was to be retired and (surprise!) two weeks later Airbus quietly announced (in France, not USA) it would be providing AA with matched polished aluminum skin panels for AA's A300s at no cost to AA.

Officially everybody says these two announcements were just coincidental, but..... well y'all can be the judge.  Yeah sure



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 3019 times:

Hi guys.

My favorite airliner when I was younger was CP Air.

I loved that airline's livery the best because of how the bold orange & red colours looked against the polished aluminum skin, and because of the angle of the colours/aluminum from the top of the nose to the bottom of the tail.

CP Air's airliners didn't have nearly as much bare aluminum skin that needed polishing as American Airlines's airliners do, but it still looked great back in those days.  Big thumbs up

I guess the aluminum skin on CP's aircraft were polished the same way as AA's aircraft .......which resulted in a nice "chrome" looking finish!


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Chris  Smile



"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2943 times:

On this topic, is there a reason why NW's new livery is painted silver and red vs. using bare skin & red? It seems like not shipping all that paint around would save considerable weight.

From pictures I've seen, for example

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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.


It appears the old Northwest Orient livery was unpainted metal with the exception of the black & white band... Why not go back?

Lincoln
[There's nothing more beautiful than watching a freshly-milled fuselage panel coming down the line glistening...]



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2931 times:

As noted above Airbus does not favor bare skins, I think they have warranty and corrosion issues with it. Anyhow the reason NW got away from bare metal was Airbus.

Note the lack of bare aluminum on this bus....

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Photo © Bob Logan



[Edited 2004-11-01 08:37:13]

User currently onlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3494 posts, RR: 46
Reply 8, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 2844 times:

As noted above Airbus does not favor bare skins, I think they have warranty and corrosion issues with it.

Airbus does not normally provide matching aluminum skin panels [AA's special order A300's excluded]. What you'll see is a miss-mash of different colors, textures, grains, etc. with a standard bare metal Airbus aircraft. The AA A300 skin panels was a very special, one-time deal.




*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2831 times:

Actually Airbus uses a process called 'Bonded Primer' on their aircraft. The aluminum skin is chemically treated before it is used. If you have ever seen a picture of a unpainted Airbus plane it is the coppery-gold color you'll see. The American A300's where not a special order, in fact for much of their life they flew painted a light gray. American Airlines Engineering Department not long ago came up with an in house EO to allow them to remove this coating and go with the fleet standard polished finish.


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineMiamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 2797 times:

The A300s Eastern Airlines bought had bare skins. Bare means that the skin panels themselves did not have a clad coating (ALCLAD); not delivered WITHOUT paint. Alclad is a pure layer of aluminum over the alloyed skin(usually 2024-T3). Needless to say the A300s had numerous issued with corrosion. Apparently, Airbus still has issues with corrosion as evidenced by belly skin changes on UAs A320s that are five (5) years old.

User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2687 times:

AA aircraft (non-airbus) have a coating of alclad. In the business it's referred to as a "premium" skin. The letters you see and the eagle on the tail are decals. There much easier to replace than having to paint a new letter on. And you don't have to worry about EPA regulations.

User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2656 times:

So how does it work for AA aircraft that were originally built for another carrier? Say TWAs 747SPs or the 757s... Can you add the ALCLAD after the paint is removed or can you only get ALCLAD parts from the smelter? Or do all Boeings have the premium skin?



User currently onlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3494 posts, RR: 46
Reply 13, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2645 times:

Actually Airbus uses a process called 'Bonded Primer' on their aircraft. The aluminum skin is chemically treated before it is used. If you have ever seen a picture of a unpainted Airbus plane it is the coppery-gold color you'll see.

If you look at a true bare metal Airbus fuselage you'll see all sorts of different colors with grain textures visible in a variety of directions (this before primer is applied).

The American A300's where not a special order,

The "special order" refers to the new matched polished aluminum skin panels Airbus provided to AA at no cost to AA in early 1990's (see previous msg).

...in fact for much of their life they flew painted a light gray.

Correct. AA slang term is "Boeing gray."

American Airlines Engineering Department not long ago came up with an in house EO to allow them to remove this coating and go with the fleet standard polished finish.

Not sure about this EO, but AA did get an EO permitting replacement of the fuselage skin panels with entirely new skin panels provided by Airbus. Most of the actual replacement work was contracted out as the planes entered/exited heavy maint. checks.

So how does it work for AA aircraft that were originally built for another carrier.... Or do all Boeings have the premium skin?

Most Boeing acft use Alcad so simply stripping any paint, clean & polish the metal is all that was required. Ex-QQ birds were a different matter entirely. The actual plane owners required QQ to treat the skin panels (don't recall what exactly) and they could not be polished --which is why the ex-QQ birds flew in a modified AA paint scheme (white instead of polished metal). Run your hand over those birds and you wonder how much additional drag those planes had.... very very rough surface!



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2632 times:

Actually Airbus uses a process called 'Bonded Primer' on their aircraft.

If you look at a true bare metal Airbus fuselage you'll see all sorts of different colors with grain textures visible in a variety of directions (this before primer is applied)


The European aircraft manufacturing community; Airbus, SAAB and ATR all use Bonded Primer. European aluminum producers do not 'Al-Clad' their product as we do here in the US. The sheet skins are treated at the production facility BEFORE being shipped of to the aircraft manufacture. I'll ask my S/M guys in the morning why they don't 'Al-Clad', I was told once but have forgotten. Anyway, removing this coating is a BIG deal and in fact SAAB has issued an SB which became an AD due to paint shops sanding off this coatting and corrosion being found at a later date. This is also why with the exception of American, you'll see no bare metal on an Airbus fuselage. Eastern tired removing the primer years ago, but I heard they started to have corrosion issues which became a big headache for them. I have a friend that was with EAL at that time so I'll need to ask him. Anyway.. here are some pics of what the Bonded Primer looks like. Its the darker 'gold' like color. Primered Green panels are non treated and have already been prepared for top coating.


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Photo © Peter Liander



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Photo © Pierre-Clément Got



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Photo © French Frogs AirDigital Project




"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2622 times:

So let me make sure I've got this straight. On the early A300s AA got Airbus to/or approve the swap out of all the Fuselage skin panels? Wow I thought only USAF would go to that much trouble.....

User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 16, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2617 times:

SATL382G-

I've never heard of AA 're-skinning' their Airbuses, just that their Engineering Department and Airbus came up with a process to remove the bonded primer and polish the skin.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2611 times:

That makes more sense vs replacing all the panels. man that would be a job!!

User currently onlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3494 posts, RR: 46
Reply 18, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2592 times:

So let me make sure I've got this straight. On the early A300s AA got Airbus to/or approve the swap out of all the Fuselage skin panels? Wow I thought only USAF would go to that much trouble.....

Not quite that simple... see the link below.

I've never heard of AA 're-skinning' their Airbuses, just that their Engineering Department and Airbus came up with a process to remove the bonded primer and polish the skin.

See link below. When you live through the decision process you tend to remember it more than if you just read about in the news. I flew the decisionmakers numerous times DFW-SNA during that period and was surprised the financial numbers were so close (and they were very "mum" about potential A300 "improvements" at the time).

That makes more sense vs replacing all the panels. man that would be a job!!

Complying with Federal and state EPA (or equivelant) regulations would probably make the removal/treat/polish option economically unattractive. OTOH, if a vendor is willing to pay the entire cost to replace the skin panels....
See link below.

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/tech_ops/read.main/57834/6/

AA ended up contracting out most of the panel replacement job to outside contractors.



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2563 times:

Well that muddies the water pretty effectively.....

User currently offlineCannikin From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 98 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2442 times:

Ok....so...after all these posts..I'm still just a tad foggy on the answer.


AA's skin IS the bare metal fuselage of the aircraft. Not a paint, or an additional skin, correct? This is kind of humorous!  Nuts


User currently offlineMiamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2421 times:

The aluminum sheet used to make the skin panels come in both BARE and CLAD (AlClad). They have different designations also:

2024-T3 BARE = QQ-A-250/4
2024-T3 CLAD = QQ-A-250/5

These designations exist for all aerospace materials such as sheet, extrusion, bar and plates.


User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2390 times:

Cannikin,

AA's skin is the metal of the fuselage without paint. I was a bit foggy there too....

SATL382G


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