AA737-823
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AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:58 pm

So I just clicked over to this very nice photo of a BRAND NEW AA 737-823. You can tell it's very new by the line number, as well as they recently released modified engine exhaust nozzles, and presumably the red beacon housings as well.

The odd thing I notice, is that the belly AFT of the wing-body fairing is now painted.

When and why did AA modify their livery to incorporate this odd feature?

I can't imagine a reason to do this; there's nothing back there that warrants paint that I'm aware of....


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Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages



As a follow-up, here's N862NN (just a few deliveries older) and it does NOT have the painted belly:


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Photo © Alex Khan



[Edited 2011-11-13 15:10:47 by srbmod]
 
einsteinboricua
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:06 pm

I think that might be the reflection of something on the ground (perhaps one of the piano bars of the runway or a side taxiway).

If you look from where the fuselage meets the wings and follow it up toward the nose, you'll notice that the "paint" fades. I don't think an airline will paint an underbelly just to have it fade up front.
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BMI727
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:15 pm

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 1):
I think that might be the reflection of something on the ground (perhaps one of the piano bars of the runway or a side taxiway)

   The fairing is painted, and it looks different from that reflection.

Quoting AA737-823 (Thread starter):
I can't imagine a reason to do this; there's nothing back there that warrants paint that I'm aware of....

If anything it's the opposite. For a while United operated at least some planes (DC-10s for sure) with unpainted strips along the belly. The reason was that it didn't require them to paint the various antennas, vents, access panels, etc. down there and might have made inspections easier too.
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grimey
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:24 pm

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 1):

I think that might be the reflection of something on the ground (perhaps one of the piano bars of the runway or a side taxiway).

I looked at the photo and zoomed in and it looks to be painted.

Grimey
 
einsteinboricua
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:25 pm

Here's an example:


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/American_Airlines.Boeing_737-800.LAX.2007.jpg
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
srbmod
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:35 pm

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 1):
I think that might be the reflection of something on the ground (perhaps one of the piano bars of the runway or a side taxiway).

Using another AA 738 as an example:


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Photo © A. Kwanten



You see a similar whitish reflection, but you can determine that it is a reflection of the piano keys. In the photo in question, the a/c is high enough to where whatever the belly is reflecting is unseen.
 
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Goodbye
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:40 pm

It's definitely painted. If you zoom in on the photo you can see a distinct line, and it curves up and goes completely vertical under the horizontal stabiliser.
 
Viscount724
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:47 pm

Quoting Goodbye (Reply 6):
It's definitely painted. If you zoom in on the photo you can see a distinct line, and it curves up and goes completely vertical under the horizontal stabiliser.

Reflections can do funny things. I am willing to bet it's not painted.
 
AA737-823
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:53 pm

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 1):

I think that might be the reflection of something on the ground (perhaps one of the piano bars of the runway or a side taxiway).

Look closer- at first, I thought as you did, but we're both wrong. It is curved in an intentional arc straight into the APU door and composite tailcone; note that the color is identical. It's painted.

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 1):
If you look from where the fuselage meets the wings and follow it up toward the nose, you'll notice that the "paint" fades. I don't think an airline will paint an underbelly just to have it fade up front.

Notice that I pointed out that it was only AFT of the wing-body fairing....

Quoting srbmod (Reply 5):
You see a similar whitish reflection, but you can determine that it is a reflection of the piano keys. In the photo in question, the a/c is high enough to where whatever the belly is reflecting is unseen.

Thanks for cleaning up my original post.
Meanwhile, your own photo provides evidence against you- there IS a portion of that aircraft's belly which has also been painted, it simply does not extend all the way forward to the wing.
Piano keys are WHITE.... these sections we're looking at are American Airlines Gray.




Note how these sections are the same shade of gray as the vertical; surely you're not going to tell me that THAT is a reflection as well??  
 
by738
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:02 am

My vote is for deffo NOT painted
 
474218
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:04 am

Quoting AA737-823 (Thread starter):
I can't imagine a reason to do this; there's nothing back there that warrants paint that I'm aware of....

Simple belly skin replacement!

N873NN in original post has a full aft belly skin replacement.

N867NN in Reply 5 has a partial aft belly skin replacement.
 
zululima
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:09 am

This aircraft is indeed painted grey on the aft belly. I have seen and touched it, along with one of the older batch of 737s, N926AN I believe. This looks to be the new standard for the 737s.
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mcoatc
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:09 am

I was sure it was a reflection at first, but I started to agree with you. Then I found this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/53766376@N03/6313225957/

Definitely painted.
 
as739x
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:32 am

It is painted. I have seen them here at SFO taxiing past to the maintenance hanger and its no reflection. At first I thought it was possibly a repair from damage, but I have now seen a few times.
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PHLapproach
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:48 am

For sure painted in that area. They didn't start getting some with the SFP option did they? Because correct me if I'm wrong but it comes with a bolstered tail skid I believe?
 
PC12Fan
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:41 am

Quoting mcoatc (Reply 12):
I was sure it was a reflection at first, but I started to agree with you. Then I found this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/53766376@N03/6313225957/

Definitely painted.

Now that's been determined painted, the question is - why?
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gdg9
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:45 am

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 15):

And will older 738s be painted this way in future if this is simply a cosmetic issue... Which I doubt.
 
boeing767mech
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:13 am

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 15):
Now that's been determined painted, the question is - why?
Quoting gdg9 (Reply 16):
And will older 738s be painted this way in future if this is simply a cosmetic issue... Which I doubt.

Yes they are painted for a couple of reasons. The first is because of all the ramp rash on the cargo doors caused by the belt loaders. (this all I'm going to say about this one since I have to inspect the damage)

And the second reason is because of the corrosion issues around the exhaust for the Lav Blower Motor exhaust.

It seems the aft bellys are getting paint from the factory. Funny thing is the CV990's had the forward section of the fuselage paint for pretty much the smae reasons. I guess this is history repeating itself.

David
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AA737-823
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:45 am

Quoting 474218 (Reply 10):
Simple belly skin replacement!

N873NN in original post has a full aft belly skin replacement.

N867NN in Reply 5 has a partial aft belly skin replacement.

What?? Skin replacement? On a months old plane? I think not.

Quoting boeing767mech (Reply 17):
The first is because of all the ramp rash on the cargo doors caused by the belt loaders.

After 40-odd years with the same livery, AA is just now having ramp rash issues? I don't get it... can you share just a bit more to give me a better idea? Being a 737NG mechanic myself, I'm struggling to correlate these two things.

Quoting boeing767mech (Reply 17):
And the second reason is because of the corrosion issues around the exhaust for the Lav Blower Motor exhaust.

I do see that the painted area includes the lav exhaust. But why the whole aft belly, rather than just that spot?
 
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:32 am

Maybe they're just getting ready for the 787s and how the belly will have to be painted on those........I wonder how much their livery will have to be altered for that a/c?
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LONGisland89
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:38 am

 
ykaops
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:40 am

Gee, here I thought AA was painting the aft bellies with gravel paint ,then eventually retrofit vortex dissipators onto the engines, and install a modified gravel deflector on the nose and take over the North! But then again..
 
tcasalert
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:58 am

Notice that the nose is the same colour.

I wonder if this is a sign of things to come with the A320 order that obviously can't have the chrome paint?

A shame if so. The polished aluminium still looks amazing.
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boeing767mech
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:57 am

Quoting 474218 (Reply 10):
Simple belly skin replacement!

N873NN in original post has a full aft belly skin replacement.

N867NN in Reply 5 has a partial aft belly skin replacement.

And why would they paint the belly for skin replacement, we replaced skin before and never repainted them before why now???????

Quoting LONGisland89 (Reply 20):
Seems the cargo doors are being painted now on the newest 738s. Are they composite or just painted aluminum?

Aluminum

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 18):
After 40-odd years with the same livery, AA is just now having ramp rash issues? I don't get it... can you share just a bit more to give me a better idea? Being a 737NG mechanic myself, I'm struggling to correlate these two things.

We have had ramp rash probably before the DC-3's Other airplanes in our fleet have a barrier to protect the inward opening doors (MD-80) But those that don't (737 cargo, and 767/777 bulk cargo doors) have all kinds of dents and gouges from belt loaders. On the 737 it is a issue because of the chem etched skins aren't as forgiving to damage like the non etched doors on other airplanes. Alot of our 737's are flying around with big patched on the doors and now painted doors.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 18):
I do see that the painted area includes the lav exhaust. But why the whole aft belly, rather than just that spot?

It makes the airplane look more uniform. We have been painting the bellies aft of the wing box area on the narrow bodies for a while, Part of the reason is because of erosion of sand and stuff on the runway during winter ops in the Northeast and Chicago area. It will also hide the oil canning that will start to show up as the airplanes get older, like it is on the 757's

David
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22886
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:14 am

Its is definitely painted.

As you can see from the photos below CX Cargo also has this larger area of grey belly of the aft fuselage on their 744BCFs which they didn't have when the silver bullet scheme was first applied.

before

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Photo © K.H. Ng - HKAEC



after

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Photo © Bastian Ding
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Photo © Alexander Sohre

 
na
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:21 am

I dont like it, especially if its only at the rear. Maybe its because the "keel" line of the rear is always dirty? CX also does it on their silver 744Fs, and in former times other airlines like LH as well when they still had metal lower fuselages.
 
yeelep
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:01 pm

Quoting boeing767mech (Reply 17):
And the second reason is because of the corrosion issues around the exhaust for the Lav Blower Motor exhaust.

I would think this and corrosion from the lav service panel are the primary reasons to paint the belly. There is quite a bit of evidence that this is a problem for AA. My airline has painted bellies and has also had some issues with corrosion at the skin lap and access door aft of the lav vent. Funnily, the problem seems to be limited to the 800's and 900's. I have yet to see any brown streaks from the vent on the 700's.


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Photo © Alejandro Hndez


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Photo © powwwiii

 
flyingzacko
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:12 pm

I say it's a reflection, and even if it's painted, who cares?
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na
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:15 pm

Quoting flyingzacko (Reply 27):
I say it's a reflection, and even if it's painted, who cares?

Apparently some care about this first AA livery "modification" since the A300 in 1987.
 
September11
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:17 pm

Isn't this "breaking" news? I first thought it was reflection...
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CO777DAL
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:21 pm

Ok so this is even more mind boggling. Some say AA is painting the bottom because of ramp rash, then why does all of Continental 737s not have paint on the bottom of the aircraft? You would think that they would paint it since the rest of the plane is painted, but it is aluminum. AA paints the bottom of a otherwise not painted aircraft and CO leaves the bottom bare of a painted aircraft. Something is a miss somewhere???
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SXDFC
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:52 pm

AA did this so it gives all of us at a-net something different to talk about aside from the DL repaints and the 787 problems..   

In all honesty I think its kinda cool, I believe LH used to do the same with its 707s and 737s back in the day too..
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OB1504
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:40 pm

Another photo showing the painted rear underside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smartjunco/6304801328/

Does anyone else think it's odd that N873NN and N875NN both feature this, but N874NN only has the cargo doors painted? http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/photo/659468L.html
 
goomba
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:54 pm

Someone I know in maintenance at DL once told me that the money that AA tries to save by NOT painting their aircraft (for the most part - logo - name - red and white strips aside), that they wind up spending a lot more money by trying to keep them bright and shiny. Apparently the process to polish the silver birds is more expensive in the long run than giving a painted bird a bath. In the end AA spends more money this way than if they just painted the bird in the first place. I wanted to open this up on this post to confirm or deny what I heard was true. It seemed appropriate considering...
 
777STL
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:21 pm

Quoting na (Reply 28):
Apparently some care about this first AA livery "modification" since the A300 in 1987.

I'm not sure I'd give it that much significance. It's simply a minor modification of the livery for one aircraft type, it's not as if they've drastically changed the entire livery fleet wide.

Quoting goomba (Reply 34):
Someone I know in maintenance at DL once told me that the money that AA tries to save by NOT painting their aircraft (for the most part - logo - name - red and white strips aside), that they wind up spending a lot more money by trying to keep them bright and shiny. Apparently the process to polish the silver birds is more expensive in the long run than giving a painted bird a bath. In the end AA spends more money this way than if they just painted the bird in the first place. I wanted to open this up on this post to confirm or deny what I heard was true. It seemed appropriate considering...

I've heard that too, I'm not sure if it's true. Apparently, the money spent protecting and polishing the bare metal is similar to what it would cost to paint an aircraft and the ensuing weight penalty as well.
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United727
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:17 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 19):

Maybe they're just getting ready for the 787s and how the belly will have to be painted on those........I wonder how much their livery will have to be altered for that a/c?

If I recall correctly, mayor, I thought I heard about a change like this would be coming in the recent past (a year or two ago), I believe you may be on to something! Is AA changing methods for the entire fleet to standardize in preparation for the composite frames to come?
 
blink182
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:33 pm

Could AA use metallic paint like VS and NW to achieve the same operational affect as the grey? If I were an average traveler, I would get the impression that the original doors were replaced or patched up. That, and if AA starts using too much gray, it really makes the metallic look bad.

I'm speaking solely from a cosmetic/branding perspective.
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EDICHC
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:48 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 18):
What?? Skin replacement? On a months old plane? I think not.

A one day old aircraft could suffer a tail strike you know or get hit by a ground vehicle, age has nothing to do with it.
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LAXtoATL
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:07 pm

Quoting goomba (Reply 34):
Someone I know in maintenance at DL once told me that the money that AA tries to save by NOT painting their aircraft (for the most part - logo - name - red and white strips aside), that they wind up spending a lot more money by trying to keep them bright and shiny. Apparently the process to polish the silver birds is more expensive in the long run than giving a painted bird a bath. In the end AA spends more money this way than if they just painted the bird in the first place. I wanted to open this up on this post to confirm or deny what I heard was true. It seemed appropriate considering...

I have heard this as well and I believe it is accurate. In order to prevent corrision AA must polish their planes more frequently. However, while it costs more to keep the planes polished, that is only part of the equation. After adding several layers of paint on a plane, it adds to the weight of the plane and increases fuel consumption, so AA saves by requiring less fuel because they aren't carrying around paint on their planes. When it is all said and done, the financial benefit of not painting planes is likely a wash (swinging slighty one way or the other depending on just how expensive fuel is at the time), so it comes down to just a personal prefernce about which livery you prefer.
 
AA737-823
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:18 pm

Quoting EDICHC (Reply 38):
A one day old aircraft could suffer a tail strike you know or get hit by a ground vehicle, age has nothing to do with it.

.....And so they'd replace the unpainted skin with unpainted skin, and then... paint it?

Nope, still doesn't make any sense.
 
joelyboy911
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:29 pm

Quoting CO777DAL (Reply 31):

Ok so this is even more mind boggling. Some say AA is painting the bottom because of ramp rash, then why does all of Continental 737s not have paint on the bottom of the aircraft? You would think that they would paint it since the rest of the plane is painted, but it is aluminum. AA paints the bottom of a otherwise not painted aircraft and CO leaves the bottom bare of a painted aircraft. Something is a miss somewhere??

Continental's bellies aren't bare metal. They're painted a beige-grey colour, aren't they?
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777STL
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:50 pm

Quoting United727 (Reply 36):
I believe you may be on to something! Is AA changing methods for the entire fleet to standardize in preparation for the composite frames to come?

Uhh, no. If you would read the thread, you would discover an actual AA mechanic's explanation as to why they paint the underbellies of narrow bodies.

Quoting joelyboy911 (Reply 41):
Continental's bellies aren't bare metal. They're painted a beige-grey colour, aren't they?

You're right, they're not.

Quoting blink182 (Reply 37):
Could AA use metallic paint like VS and NW to achieve the same operational affect as the grey?

Yes, there are plenty of paints available that can give a metallic like finish. Google the McClaren Mercedes F1 race car for a great example of that.
PHX based
 
yeelep
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:44 pm

Quoting 777STL (Reply 42):
Quoting joelyboy911 (Reply 41):
Continental's bellies aren't bare metal. They're painted a beige-grey colour, aren't they?

You're right, they're not.

Oh no your'e not. They are indeed bare.


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Super80DFW
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:38 am

I've never noticed that before! I'll be sure to keep my eye out when I head to work tomorrow! Every time I see a 738, I'll be sure to take a really good look; even squint if I have too!  
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catiii
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:23 am

Quoting CO777DAL (Reply 31):
Ok so this is even more mind boggling. Some say AA is painting the bottom because of ramp rash, then why does all of Continental 737s not have paint on the bottom of the aircraft? You would think that they would paint it since the rest of the plane is painted, but it is aluminum. AA paints the bottom of a otherwise not painted aircraft and CO leaves the bottom bare of a painted aircraft. Something is a miss somewhere???

I think though, and I could stand to be corrected by someone in the know on this, CO's "bare metal" on their 737's seem to be in places where it is unlikely to come in contact with GSE. The cargo doors and the areas surrounding them are all painted.
 
yeelep
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RE: AA Now Painting Bellies?!

Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:23 pm

Quoting catiii (Reply 47):

The bottom third of the forward and the bottom quarter of the aft cargo doors are bare. So there's plenty of opportunity for GSE equipment to hit bare metal. If you look at other CO aircraft, 777, 757 etc., you will see that those liveries are also bare along the keel. I assume the bottom of the grey was was determined solely on aesthetics. That said, I don't work for CO/UA and have no insider knowledge.