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Painting Process Of A WN 737?  
User currently offlineSXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2352 posts, RR: 21
Posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4449 times:

Today while I was working a flight, I noticed the winglet of one of our -700s ( as seen in the picture below ) and couldn't help but wonder the process of painting our planes. It appears they paint the whole plane yellow first, but can anyone confirm? If possible, pictures, videos,etc would be awesome to see.

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc368/737-8H4/swang.jpg

I apologize for the picture quality..


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 941 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4392 times:

I can't tell you how the standard WN paint job is done, but the general process is shown in lots of time lapse videos on youtube. Just search for " airplane time lapse paint" . Lots of masking tape and paper used before spraying the various colors. Things like the WN Florida theme plane take a lot of work.

User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14026 posts, RR: 62
Reply 2, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4369 times:

1. Tape off everything which reacts sensitive to paint stripping (windows, composite parts, antennas, landing gear etc.)
2. Spray aircraft with paint stripper, let it work for a few hours (the stuff is highly toxic and corrossive to skin, the guys
will have to wear full protective suits including gas masks).
3. Wash down paint stripper and paint using power washers.
4. Let plane dry.
5. Sand down remaining paint, also from composte parts.
6. Wipe aircraft with cleaning solvent to remove dust and grease.
7. Spray application of primer (yellowish or green)
8. Cover fuselage
9. Spray wings with grey paint (e.g. BAC 707)
10. Cover wings and stab, uncover fuselage
11. Spray base paint for fuselage (for LH white)
12. Cover fuselage and wings
13. Spray vertical stabilizer
14. Apply decals for logos etc.

Jan


User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3523 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4366 times:
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I know for WN factory paint jobs the winglets are painted prior to installation. Could be an entirely different process from that used on the rest of the aircraft.


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User currently offlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4337 times:

Normally the most predominant colour of the livery is the first colour applied, over the entire fuselage more often than not. Then it's masked off for cheatlines and logos etc. Again, should the colour scheme require several colours then there will be more masking. Paint is heavy and needs to be applied as efficiently as possible.
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineMender From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4273 times:

This might help http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=zKnsyYbfC60&feature=popular

User currently offlineBarney Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 965 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4158 times:

Apparently Florida One started life as an -800.


...from the Banana Republic....
User currently offlinepolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2189 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 4126 times:

Quoting Barney Captain (Reply 6):
Apparently Florida One started life as an -800.

A Virgin Blue one based off the winglets 


User currently offline737tdi From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 843 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3946 times:
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Quoting SXDFC (Thread starter):
It appears they paint the whole plane yellow first, but can anyone confirm?

All of our aircraft, except for the specialty aircraft, are indeed painted yellow first. The reason we were told was so the canyon blue would have the right shade???. Anytime we have to touchup, or paint a repair, if you don't use the yellow prior to the blue it looks terrible.

If you ever fly though AMA look to the north from the new terminal and you will see a bunch of old Air Force hangars, that is Leading Edge where a ton of our aircraft are repainted.


User currently offlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3758 times:

Take no offence here but as a sprayer myself I find that ridulous! Any shade of blue can be knocked up and doesn't need a coloured undercoat. The only time this would be the case is if we apply a special pearl and need something to base off, even for the flop effect, as it's known. Perhaps the yellow is a primer you're using or is a cheaper base than using the topcoat blue? But for actual colour I've never heard of blue on yellow.

Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 10, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3758 times:

Btw, I'm not saying they don't do it that way but it sounds very strange. Hope you understand?
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offline737tdi From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 843 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3723 times:
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No offense taken, I understand your point completely. As I pointed out in my post,

Quoting 737tdi (Reply 8):
The reason we were told was so the canyon blue would have the right shade???.

notice the question marks. I do know for sure though that once they are painted this way, if you paint the blue with out the yellow under it, it looks bad. By the way it is not a yellow primer, it is the yellow topcoat that you see on the aircraft.

I wish there was someone on here from Leading Edge or Dean Baldwin here to explain it.

737tdi


User currently offlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 12, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3686 times:

I understand indeed but find the method counter productive to the point of stupid. Like I said, ANY shade of any colour can be mixed. A yellow base to the final blue indicates to me the blue, for whatever reason, is more expensive. I'd even understand the red going on as a base to the blue, then mask it off for the final top of blue. As the yellow is such a very little colour in that scheme it baffles me. Your absolutely sure it's not a wash primer? That's yellow.
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineQANTAS747-438 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1963 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3617 times:

Quoting SXDFC (Thread starter):
It appears they paint the whole plane yellow first, but can anyone confirm?

Why on earth would they paint the entire plane yellow, then repaint it in the remaining colors?



My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 3601 times:

Quoting QANTAS747-438 (Reply 13):
Why on earth would they paint the entire plane yellow, then repaint it in the remaining colors?

Only the areas that are going to be yellow get painted and they feather off the edge a little so it blends in. It's done to prevent the edges from errosion on the letters. I've seen dozens of planes painted this way.

[Edited 2011-12-13 19:16:11]


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offline737tdi From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 843 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 3571 times:
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Quoting spencer (Reply 12):
I understand indeed but find the method counter productive to the point of stupid. Like I said, ANY shade of any colour can be mixed. A yellow base to the final blue indicates to me the blue, for whatever reason, is more expensive. I'd even understand the red going on as a base to the blue, then mask it off for the final top of blue. As the yellow is such a very little colour in that scheme it baffles me. Your absolutely sure it's not a wash primer? That's yellow.
Spence

Have you ever thought that a multi million dollar company might have been smarter then you? Yes, It is painted yellow first (and no it is not primer). Question me on this again and you will get the same answer. Dang, It's a paint question, I gave you the answer and you just keep on. I don't know why, I told ya I don't know why. It is what they do. It is painted yellow then blue. Hell maybe it's only 2 mils. I don't know.

I have been an aircraft mech. on heavy jets for 30 years and I know primer. It is not primer!!!!

737tdi


User currently offlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 16, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3567 times:

737tdi, what's your problem? I wasn't questioning you personally nor insinuating you was lying. My question was rhetorical. The method seems peculiar to me is all. Relax.
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offline737tdi From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 843 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3510 times:
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Sorry Spence: No problems, I'm just saying the way it is done. It's just some of the responses say it's stupid, when they have absolutely no idea why it is done either. If you don't know why then how can you say it is stupid? You can not compare it to painting a car etc... By the way, again it is not primer, it is the yellow you see in the pic. from the O.P.. Nuff said on this I think. I am not an aircraft painter, although I have stripped a few, so I'll leave it at that.

User currently offlineSXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2352 posts, RR: 21
Reply 18, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2546 times:

I'd like to thank the posters above for spreading their knowledge with regards to HOW WN paints their planes. After watching the recent promitional video of our new -800 it proves that WN does indeed paint their planes yellow first.

I did however want to ask another question with regards to WN repaints. I have noticed after a WN plane goes through a repaint, the registration font is different (not as bold or wide) and a bit higher then it is normally placed when Boeing first paints the plane. Although this is a bit of detail, does anyone know why this is the case? I don't seem to recall any other airline repaints like this.

"Factory Paint"


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Steven Pellegrino



"Repaint"


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Thomas Warloe



Our -300s also seem to have their registrations almost directly atop of the window line


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages



Again I know these are miniscule details but I figured I'd ask anyways.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinesoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2474 times:

I have a WN v/fin panel and the red tail graphic does have a yellow base coat. On the other hand, the fuselage section I have in Canyon Blue does not have a yellow base coat. Aerospace opaques have a high pigment content and the only case I could see for a base color coat would be white. But not even these days as paint technology has come along way, pigmented base coats are not required anymore especially given to weight vs fuel. Not knocking you 737tdi, but I'm with spencer on this one...I too don't understand...not to say they don't do it that way. I had to duplicate a Canyon
Blue mix with no yellow base coat and it was a perfect match....however...Canyon Blue is a strange mix!...one of the toughest colors I have mixed to date. Also happens to be one of my favorite...It would make for an interesting test however. I still have some remaining. I will shoot a test this week and see if any differences are evident...g


User currently offlineFabo From Slovakia, joined Aug 2005, 1219 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 2400 times:

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 18):
Factory Paint"

I would be grateful if someone were able to point me in the direction to look for this (or equivalent) font and cut...



The light at the end of tunnel turn out to be a lighted sing saying NO EXIT
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 21, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2362 times:

This is one good educational thread on the process of painting aircraft......
Just wondering a repainted aircraft can never be as good paint job wise as a newly 1st time painted Aircraft.Whats the painters opinion on that....



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 22, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

Hi MEL. IMO the original paint has the best finish. It all depends on the prep work done at the end of the day.
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 23, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 2274 times:

Quoting spencer (Reply 22):
IMO the original paint has the best finish. It all depends on the prep work done at the end of the day.

I thought so too.The Importance of the Temperature in the controlled environment will make a difference too.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 24, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2266 times:

Temp is definitely a factor; it just won't work in too cold a climate.
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
25 soon7x7 : You gotta remember that most OEM's when they paint their aircraft and internal parts use electro static spraying systems. This system alone results in
26 spencer : It's all down to money as you say. I personally wouldn't like to apply a base coat without a primer; the whole idea of a primer is for better adhesion
27 soon7x7 : True, economics and location. A recent notables 757 was repainted in a rather dirty hangar rather than a paint facility and upon close inspection...i
28 737tdi : The factory paint is most definitely higher quality, not knocking any of the aftermarket paint guys. They do a good job with what they have to work wi
29 spencer : With the new paints now only one coat of base is required, on top of the primer. No more 2 or 3 coats nowadays, everything is cromate free, waterborne
30 HAWK21M : Painting over a previous coat without stripping it out totally adds to unnecessary weight.This over a long period of time proves uneconomical.
31 soon7x7 : We are already on a 4th paint supplier, they all perform differently, so anything is possible. Nothing really surprises me...g
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