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Process Of Painting An Airliner  
User currently offlineSXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2442 posts, RR: 23
Posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6755 times:

Hey Guys:

I have noticed many times in many pictures when planes first roll out of the paint shop and look sharp and clean, and I always wondered what process it takes to paint one, Is there certain parts of the plane that get removed? Do the wings get painted? Also in the case of a 737 do they plug the eye brows, repaint the winglets? All of this information would be gladly appreciated, I wonder what part of the plane they start with first!


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6734 times:

mask it...strip it.... prep it...wash it.... prime it... paint it.....

Mask it..... composite areas and windows are protected during the stripping process.
Strip it...... Chemical stripper is applied. It is left on for a few hours. It is then pressure washed away.
Prep it...... the fuselage is cleaned up by hand sanding all areas.. including composites
Wash it... . the fuselage is pressure washed again....then alodined.
Prime it..... just what it says..primer is applied
Paint it...... the finish coats are applied. Logos are layed out following blue-prints. Placards are installed.

Yes.... many times the wings are painted.
No... on 737 they do not just plug the windows. The plug Mod is pretty extensive.

[Edited 2008-02-21 15:35:46]


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineFlyUSCG From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 656 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6722 times:

There are several videos on YouTube that are quick time lapses of aircraft painting. Everything from CRJ's to A340's. They are pretty impressive videos and even have some good music with them. I am also fascinated with aircraft painting and would love to do it someday. But definitely check out those videos, really cool stuff.


Go Trojans! Fight On!
User currently offlineFlyUSCG From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 656 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6708 times:

Here is Horizon's latest project...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QVuQyI6aaE&feature=related OSU Beaver's CRJ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SKY7K_KUDs&feature=related Oregon Ducks CRJ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPvz6fIKL4I&feature=related WSU Cougars CRJ
I imagine the Huskies plane is in the shop right now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APOH_rmaNcU 737 Dreamliner
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilXDziiS7H0&feature=related Dragonair A330 assembly painting

There is also a Virgin America one that isn't as exciting as far as the scheme goes but does show the ridiculous number of coats they put on per color.



Go Trojans! Fight On!
User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6671 times:

are there any major advantages to painting after construction like boeing and airbus do it as opposed to embraer?

why is it more common to see airplanes painted with the gear down rather than the gear up and the airplane on jacks. wouldn't having the gear stowed make it easier to evenly paint the fuselage?



"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 6663 times:



Quoting Cancidas (Reply 4):

Makes no difference at all.....



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 6632 times:

Ok so I have a question.

I've heard many people say some "paint jobs" is actually just a bunch of stickers.

Not sure how to explain what I mean but it's just printed graphics and not actually sprayed on.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineInbound From Trinidad and Tobago, joined Sep 2001, 851 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 6620 times:



Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 6):
I've heard many people say some "paint jobs" is actually just a bunch of stickers.

Yup, it's true. Our entire "livery" at Caribbean Airlines is just a bunch of stickers on a white painted background/base.
Even the huge hummingbird is stuck on.


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Maintain own separation with terrain!
User currently offlineTbanger From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 266 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 10 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 6610 times:



Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 6):
Ok so I have a question.

I've heard many people say some "paint jobs" is actually just a bunch of stickers.

Not sure how to explain what I mean but it's just printed graphics and not actually sprayed on.



Quoting Inbound (Reply 7):
Yup, it's true. Our entire "livery" at Caribbean Airlines is just a bunch of stickers on a white painted background/base.
Even the huge hummingbird is stuck on.

So are ours.


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User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 6559 times:



Quoting Inbound (Reply 7):
Yup, it's true. Our entire "livery" at Caribbean Airlines is just a bunch of stickers on a white painted background/base.
Even the huge hummingbird is stuck on.

Is there an added benefit?

I know our Blue Bonnet and Atlanta Stone Mountain special liveries is stickers too.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 6549 times:

Quoting Tbanger (Reply 8):
So are ours.

Not all of it...... it's a mix of paint and placards.........

ps.... 389 is due to leave Nashville today.

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 9):

Is there an added benefit?

You can do some more complex stuff. Just look at Frontier's tails.......

[Edited 2008-02-22 09:18:37]


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineDALMD88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2614 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 6513 times:

This one was all paint.

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It has been asked if painting up on jacks with the gear sucked up had any advantages. I think it does, especially on a wide body. I first saw it down that way when we started painting the DHL 767s in ATL. They jacked the plane, sucked up the gear and then lowered the jacks. Two big time savings resulted. First you don't have to mask off the gear wells. Second, the bottom of the plane was now at a level that could be shot from the ground. With the plane on it's gear the belly had to be shot off of scissor lifts. The rest of the plane could still be shot off of the 'Flying carpet' stacker cranes.


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 12, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 6505 times:



Quoting Tbanger (Reply 8):

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N389AE



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineSXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2442 posts, RR: 23
Reply 13, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 6496 times:

Anyone know if WN's Slam Dunk One or Shamu are stickers?


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Photo © Brandon T. Perez




ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 6496 times:



Quoting SXDFC (Reply 13):

Painted..........



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineSkyweasy82 From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 50 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6429 times:



Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 9):
I know our Blue Bonnet and Atlanta Stone Mountain special liveries is stickers too.

Actually those are all paint. The silver and soaring 700's are stickers. 738EV and 740EV. 849AS "The Ant Hill" had a grey bottom for a while because that was the one that had the left gear collapse about 6 years ago.


User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3582 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 6375 times:

How long does it take to paint an airplane?


Support the beer and soda can industry, recycle old airplanes!
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 6344 times:



Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 16):
How long does it take to paint an airplane?

How big is the plane..? How complex is the job...? how many colors...???? what quality do you want...? strip and paint, or sand and paint...? Pick a number.........



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3582 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 6342 times:



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 17):

Dash 8?
B737?
B747?
A380?

Does the paint peel off like "skin" or does it need to be sanded off?



Support the beer and soda can industry, recycle old airplanes!
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 6332 times:

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 18):

You're still asking a question with many answers.....

How complex is the job...? how many colors...???? what quality do you want...? strip and paint, or sand and paint...?

In the basic sense... I saw UAL 747-400's get painted in about 10-14 days working 3 shifts.... I've seen Piedmont Dash-8 get painted in about 7 days. Keep in mind a lot of that is driven by the number of people you have working the job. We did an E135.... not a Legacy... for a corporate client last year that was in the paint shop for 3 weeks.

[Edited 2008-02-23 13:17:49]


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineTbanger From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 266 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 6332 times:



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 10):
Not all of it...... it's a mix of paint and placards.........

The only painted areas are the blue and orange on the tail. The logo's are "Stickers". I know because we get them made in Oz and send them over for EAMS to put on prior to delivery.

Oh yeah and the large rego under the left wing is painted too. (It's in a vulnerable position and doesn't adhere too well.)


User currently offlineFlyUSCG From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 656 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 6305 times:



Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 3):
I imagine the Huskies plane is in the shop right now.

And I can now confirm that the Huskies plane is painted and flying the line. I saw it at the Alaska terminal when I pulled into LAX today.



Go Trojans! Fight On!
User currently offlineMiller22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 721 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6071 times:

This article shows a time-lapse video of an A320 being painted. First is the primer. Then the white base paint, and then the red accents.

http://www.airlineempires.net/content/view/223/79/


User currently offlineDALMD88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2614 posts, RR: 14
Reply 23, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 6032 times:



Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 16):
How long does it take to paint an airplane?

I think DL is allocating seven days for the new paint scheme on the 757/767. That is the same for a strip job or a sand job. I believe they are allowing two layers of paint before they strip to bare metal.


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31712 posts, RR: 56
Reply 24, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6018 times:



Quoting Tbanger (Reply 20):
The logo's are "Stickers

Not to pick on,but the correct term is "Decals".
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2556 posts, RR: 2
Reply 25, posted (6 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5855 times:

Decals are also used on railcars and buses-such as advertising wraps. Decals are fine for viewing at a distance, but the difference in finish quality between decals and paint can be quite noticeable up close. The tourist railroad I worked for experimented with vinyl striping and painted striping and determined that painting was the better method for our livery. We did keep with the vinyl letters for the letterboard though. When working with decals or transfers, you do have to take care that the surface they are applied to is not contaminated and smooth them to prevent air from being trapped.


"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
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