Topic Author
Posts: 2506
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 1999 3:15 am

Painting An Aircraft

Mon Aug 28, 2000 10:58 pm

All this talk of changing liveries brings up the question: how is an aircraft painted? Does anyone know the procedure from start to finish, including covering over engines, windows, etc. and how long it takes?

Posts: 170
Joined: Wed May 19, 1999 7:00 am

RE: Painting An Aircraft

Tue Aug 29, 2000 5:01 am

I'm not sure of the exact process but I know some. It starts right after the aircraft comes of the production line when the aircraft is towed over to the paint hanger. (Mind you that this is the Boeing process and Airbus or others might have a different process) The aircraft is sprayed with a special solution that removes the green coating that is used to protect the aircraft from the weather. What's left is bare metal. Then comes the process of masking of everything that won't be painted. This process takes longer than the painting itself. Then I believe a coat of primmer is added. Then it is left to dry. The building is heated to spead up the process but I'm not sure how long drying takes. Then, depending on the airline, other areas are masked off, painted, then left to dry. These steps are repeated until the aircraft is done. This is the Boeing process and is not universal. This is just the basics and there is probably some details that I left out. Total time may be a few days to a week depending on airline specifications.

Posts: 3035
Joined: Mon May 29, 2000 2:21 pm

RE: Painting An Aircraft

Tue Aug 29, 2000 5:26 am

United used to paint planes while in HMV in SFO. Now I think a seperate contractor does it, but i'm not sure. I know that it is not done in California, due to laws about the paint.

Here is how it was done...well sort of!  
1. The paint is stripped.
2. Bare metal is left.
3. ** The plane is inspected for any cracks or fractures that may be covered up by the paint.
4. The plane would be masked. Everything from windows, to parts of the body were covered. The masking was paper bag like material.
5. A primer coat is applied
6. The Blue bottom, is painted.
7. The gray top is painted
8. The stripes are painted including the tail
9. The tail logo is painted
10. "United Airlines" is painted
11. Registration, and the nose number is painted
12. The masking is removed.
13. You have one beautiful plane with that fresh paint.
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 1:34 am

RE: Painting An Aircraft

Tue Aug 29, 2000 5:36 am

For balancing reasons the rudder is painted prior to any other painting. In fact this step is done before the plane is completely finished.


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