c5load
Topic Author
Posts: 344
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:40 pm

Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:40 am

I know it costs money to paint airplanes, and I know paint also adds about 2500 lbs to the airplanes weight, depending on the size. Has AA made an intelligent decision over time by not painting their airplanes, but just striping them instead? Isn't that saving them not only weight, but money as well b/c of the saved weight? Are there any other airlines besides AA that do not paint their airplanes?
"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"
 
BMI727
Posts: 11123
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:54 am

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
Isn't that saving them not only weight, but money as well b/c of the saved weight?

Yes, but there are certain penalties involved since keeping the finish nice requires use of chemicals, some of which I think are somewhat nasty. Plus, I want to say that some of the panels used on AA planes are a bit thicker, so they can better stand up to the tiny layers that are removed in the polishing process, but I might be wrong about that.

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
Are there any other airlines besides AA that do not paint their airplanes?

AeroMexico didn't until a few years ago when they went to white in anticipation of 787 deliveries.

Also, I should point out that years ago, Trans Texas advertised their white topped planes as being more comfortable (cooler) than polished ones.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
413X3
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:59 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:23 am


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Stephan Kruse

 
CVG72
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:14 am

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:06 am

In 2005, AC stripped a 762 of its paint to study the difference in the cost of fuel. They removed something like 300 pounds of paint.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Youri Thonon - Contrails Aviation Photography

Roll Tide // Next: UA/EV/LH CVG-EWR-FRA-DUS-MUC-EWR-CVG
 
HaveBlue
Posts: 2108
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:16 am

Quoting CVG72 (Reply 3):
In 2005, AC stripped a 762 of its paint to study the difference in the cost of fuel. They removed something like 300 pounds of paint.

And the result was.....?
Here Here for Severe Clear!
 
Rj111
Posts: 3007
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 9:02 am

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:29 am

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 4):
And the result was.....?

The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.
 
FlyingColours
Posts: 2202
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 3:13 am

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:38 pm

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.

Hahaha 
Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 4):
And the result was.....?

I think the end result was either negligible in terms of savings or the cost of stripping the aircraft outweighed the benefits of fuel savings.

I think it was something along those lines as they didn't bother doing it to the rest of the fleet, IIRC the 762 was to go into storage shortly so it wasn't much of a problem to use it.

Then again perhaps the cost savings were good but the fact they couldn't have unpainted Airbii meant it would be a bit pointless. Although the fact not many other airlines have opted for unpainted aircraft seems to suggest that the cost savings are considerably less than expected.

Wow I've totally confused myself... :s

Phil
FlyingColours
Lifes a train racing towards you, now you can either run away or grab a chair & a beer and watch it come - Phil
 
Fly2HMO
Posts: 7207
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:14 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:30 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
Plus, I want to say that some of the panels used on AA planes are a bit thicker, so they can better stand up to the tiny layers that are removed in the polishing process, but I might be wrong about that.

I highly doubt that's the case.
 
BMI727
Posts: 11123
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:24 am

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 7):
I highly doubt that's the case.

It actually is on the A300s. From an Airways article: "Thicker Alcad is now used on the AA Airbus fleet than is standard..." It also notes that Airbus was initially against polishing the A300s, but relented, and Eastern's A300s spent their whole careers in white paint.

It goes on to mention that Boeing panels are the same, but get some special attention for cosmetic reasons and that in the past, panels were visually matched.

Other interesting facts from the article:

-While polishing gives a weight advantage, it does require more maintenance than paint which includes washing and thrice yearly repolishing.
-Leaving just the belly unpainted makes inspections easier, since that is the area most likely to be damaged by ramp rash and corrosion.
-Boeing actually says that they believe that polishing adds .06-.3% to the cost of operating the aircraft.
-While dark colors add to the cooling costs of an airliner, light colors incur a larger weight penalty, since they require more coats.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
bohica
Posts: 2308
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:21 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:12 am

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 4):
And the result was.....?

The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.

Usually a previously painted plane looks awful without paint as opposed to one which has never been painted. Eastern, Western, and USAir all had previously painted planes then switched to bare metal schemes. All of them looked dull compared to an American Airlines airplane which was never painted.
 
71Zulu
Posts: 1613
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:42 am

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:29 am

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
and I know paint also adds about 2500 lbs to the airplanes weight,

Where did you get that number from? Sounds way high to me.
Clickable links only please!
 
User avatar
HAWK21M
Posts: 29867
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2001 10:05 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:00 am

To keep the Unpainted surface in polished condition would require regular polishing.....Unless it was a freighter where appearence was not paramount.
regds
MEL.
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
WestWing
Posts: 1133
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:01 am

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:13 am

Boeing says a 0.1 mm thick full livery typically adds approx 555 lbs of weight to a 747-400. (Source).
The best time to plant a tree is 40 years ago. The second best time is today.
 
Fly2HMO
Posts: 7207
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:14 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:23 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 8):

It actually is on the A300s. From an Airways article: "Thicker Alcad is now used on the AA Airbus fleet than is standard..." It also notes that Airbus was initially against polishing the A300s, but relented, and Eastern's A300s spent their whole careers in white paint.

Hmmm. You'd think with how anal the FAA is for certification those thicker planes would need an STC or something. Unless the additional thickness is in the lines of just .001mm more perhaps   

I wonder how much heavier AA's A300s were compared to regular A300s. I'm assuming less than a few pounds difference perhaps.
 
j0rdan
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:04 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:20 am

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 4):
And the result was.....?

The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.

Gotta disagree with you there. Sharp looking bird if you ask me.  



Also IIRC, on the Boeing tour, the guide mentioned that darker paint colors (black, red, etc) weigh more than lighter paint colors (white).
 
BMI727
Posts: 11123
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:52 am

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 13):
You'd think with how anal the FAA is for certification those thicker planes would need an STC or something.

I'd think so too, but I can't find it.

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.

It would have looked a lot better with the old black tail scheme. Plus they should have found a different color for the nacelles.

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
Isn't that saving them not only weight, but money as well b/c of the saved weight?

Not according to Boeing.

Quote:
Though the wieght of paint adds to fuel consumption, the fuel-cost savings offered by polished surfaces is outweighed by the cost of maintaining the polished surfaces. However, because this difference is a very small percentage of operating cost, many operators decide to paint or polish their airplanes based on marketing and environmental impact considerations.
http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aer...agazine/aero_05/fo/fo01/story.html
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
User avatar
longhauler
Posts: 4986
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:00 am

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:22 pm

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
The most hideous aircraft ever conceived.
Quoting j0rdan (Reply 14):
Gotta disagree with you there. Sharp looking bird if you ask me.
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 15):
It would have looked a lot better with the old black tail scheme. Plus they should have found a different color for the nacelles.

That aircraft was a test. Fuel burns were very closely monitored to assess any gains. Don't forget, at the time, we were contemplating $100+/bbl fuel costs. (Which, of course went much higher).

The result of the test was that the decreased fuel burn did not compensate for additional costs of a bare metal paint scheme that did not come from the factory.

For the record, had the test been successful the paint scheme would have been slightly different than the one pictured/tested. To start with, it would have been properly polished requiring about 4 times the man hours for the task. Also, there was a lot more "frost green" outlines on various parts that accented the bare metal. Granted I only saw an drawing of the planned scheme, but it looked pretty attractive. And no ... I don't have a copy of that drawing.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:01 pm

Quoting bohica (Reply 9):
Eastern, Western, and USAir all had previously painted planes then switched to bare metal schemes. All of them looked dull compared to an American Airlines airplane which was never painted.

That's how you can easily tell an ex-TWA a/c in AA's fleet. I remember working out at ATL back about 5-7 years ago and how the TWA LLC MD-80 family a/c in the AA colors were dull in comparison to their AA siblings.

When you consider that even DL has gone away from having bare metal as part of their livery (Going as far back as the DC-8s and Convair 880s they had a bare metal belly on their jet a/c.), it shows that airlines are definitely looking at cutting costs wherever possible. When the currently livery was introduced, they talked about how much cheaper it was to be to maintain than the previous livery. AA is definitely one of the last holdouts, but even they're going to eventually have to abandon it and not by choice either.
 
User avatar
DocLightning
Posts: 19822
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:44 pm

The other thing is that you must remember that airplanes are probably not going to be primarily metal anymore.

From now on, airplanes will probably be made of CFRP or whichever other materials-science wonder comes along.

CFRP has the weakness of being sensitive to sunlight. Sunlight weakens the material. So CFRP planes are going to need to be painted at all times. Very fortunately, there will be no bare-CFRP liveries.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19065
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:09 am

Quoting c5load (Thread starter):
I know it costs money to paint airplanes, and I know paint also adds about 2500 lbs to the airplanes weight, depending on the size.

According to Boeing, the paint on a fullly painted (fuselage and tail) 747-400 weighs 555 lbs and 179 lbs. on a 737-700. I've never heard a figure as high as 2500 lbs. mentioned. See the table near the bottom. I think this document is about 10 years old.
http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aer...zine/aero_05/textonly/fo01txt.html
 
User avatar
TZTriStar500
Posts: 866
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 1:33 am

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:44 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 8):
It actually is on the A300s. From an Airways article: "Thicker Alcad is now used on the AA Airbus fleet than is standard..." It also notes that Airbus was initially against polishing the A300s, but relented, and Eastern's A300s spent their whole careers in white paint.
Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 13):
Hmmm. You'd think with how anal the FAA is for certification those thicker planes would need an STC or something. Unless the additional thickness is in the lines of just .001mm more perhaps

I was in Widebody Engineering at AA then and this statement is false. Different aluminum was not used in AA's A300's and while Airbus never sanctioned stripping and polishing, AA decided to do it anyway. The skins were not Alclad and after stripping were just alodined and polished.

To answer the hypothetical on using thicker skins, no STC would be required as the TC holder would make or offer the change during the build process as an option. Also, nobody would unilaterally install thicker skins post-delivery, that would require an STC and be quite complicated and expensive to manufacture any complex contoured panels.
35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
 
c5load
Topic Author
Posts: 344
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:40 pm

RE: Can Airlines Save $$$ By Not Painting Airplanes?

Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:42 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 19):
I've never heard a figure as high as 2500 lbs

Now that you mention it, that number does sound high. I'm not sure where I heard it from, must have gotten some numbers mixed up.
"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests