First of all, is this for Microsoft or another FlightSim. I can only help with MSFS as it is the one with all the BIG commercial planes. If it is, read on...
IF you are starting an AA VA, FORGET IT! AA is in this big mess right now due to copyrights on there logos. They have already closed the AA VA and removed all AA planes at Flightsim.com and a few others. If you are looking for other airlines try:
There are a lot of planes there and many people will not mind if you post their planes on a VA site as long as you give them credit for having painted the plane. As for a painting program, there are many good ones. AF5Paint is really good for knowing exactly what colors FS uses. Another good one (but very expenzive for the full version) is Paint Shop Pro. If you are going to paint planes yourself I suggest getting AF99 ( www.abacuspub.com ) and painting on the AFX files that are publically available. That way you can avoid problems with using other's textures. If you need AFX files or help (they have a forum for questions) try out
They have many good AFX files and very helpful people. Currently I am working on a 717 AFX and have painted about 60 airplanes for MS FlightSim98. Check it out at
You can e-mail me from a link on my site if you have any other questions.
Regards from St Louis!