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How Often Do Airplanes Get New Painting  
User currently offlineA380900 From France, joined Dec 2003, 1125 posts, RR: 1
Posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 7546 times:

How often do airplanes get a new painting? How often are they washed? Does it matter in terms of performance?


8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineQantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 22
Reply 1, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7484 times:

Does it matter in terms of performance?

In both washing and painting's cases, yes, if only slightly. Having a lot of dirt and small debris on any part of an aircraft increases skin friction drag, and can also contribute to early separation of airflow over the wing; washing the aircraft would reduce these effects. An old/beat up coat of paint can also increase drag and bring about seperation just as dirt can, and in paint's case it is of course a repaint that will help.


User currently offlineDeltaGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7439 times:

It's like when you wash/wax your car, you "think" it drives faster...although it doesn't make a TON of difference on the car, it is reducing that skin friction drag by some margin...same goes for the a/c, but on a far greater scale...having nice huge paint chips sticking up in the slipstream sure ain't gonna help  Big grin


User currently offlineAUAE From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 296 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 7296 times:

The time between painting can vary a lot. I think about every 8 years is what a carrier would shoot for, but I would say some go a bit longer than that. As for washing, same could be said. Outside of right before an overhaul or overnight check, I am not sure how often a plane gets washed.

Air transport is just a glorified bus operation. -Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive
User currently offlineSaintsman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 2065 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 7290 times:

Aircraft do not just get repainted, they get stripped to bare metal first otherwise they have a huge weight increase. (Think how many cans of paint would be needed and how heavy a can is.)

A supplementary question. Now that a lot of aircraft have composite panels are these stripped too before re-paint? I was wandering whether the paint stripper would cause damage during the process.

User currently offlineAUAE From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 296 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 7274 times:

Saintsman (New Orleans Fan????),

Yes composite panels are stripped. I never worked on a lot of composite pieces, but I have seen them stripped quite often. I am not sure if the stripping agent is less caustic than what is used on metal, but I know you can use Acetone, MEK, MPK ect to clean most composites prior to paint.

Air transport is just a glorified bus operation. -Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive
User currently offline747Teach From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 176 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 7267 times:

A380900: Modern epoxy paints have a pretty good lifespan, but I'd say most airline aircraft will get painted somewhere between 5 and 10 years. And they get washed on the order of every 6 months. It's more of a "corporate image" issue than performance. Of course, as individual aircraft change owners, and companies change logos, this will cause repaints to occur.
Aircraft do not always get stripped to bare metal. Many operators choose to sand off the topcoat and retain the primer, electrostatic undercoats, antenna planes, etc., and then reapply a new topcoat. Since the topcoat should be about 2 mils thick (in the case of one popular brand of paint), it doesn't take a lot of sanding to remove it. The composite parts are also usually sanded, as some strippers will attack the material. Regards,

User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14968 posts, RR: 61
Reply 7, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 7175 times:

We packed up all composite parts with speed tape before stripping. The composite parts were afterwards sanded down with a handoperated air sander.


Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
User currently offlineNz1 From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 2319 posts, RR: 23
Reply 8, posted (12 years 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6994 times:

MD11Engineer is correct, normally you would mask off the composite panels, and then sand them down after you had paintstripped the fuselage etc. At Air NZ, we would be lucky to repaint our aircraft once every 10 years. I know a lot of operators strip their aircraft when they are due a D check, and then repaint afterwards.

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