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intotheair
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United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:36 am

I was spooking around in the older times, and I've come across mentions in some ancient threads on here and elsewhere that UA had visibility problems with the Battleship Grey livery and painted a few "test" planes in a lighter shade of grey. A few references said they painted a DC-10, though I saw one thread claiming some 737-300s and 727s were painted in this experimental scheme. Could anybody point me to pictures of whichever experimental planes these were? I'd be interested to see them for old time's sake. Growing up, I reviled the Battleship livery, though looking back now, it was pretty unusual as far as liveries go, and it is a sign of the times of 90s international business design.
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bunumuring
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:58 pm

There were definitely planes that had a lighter shade of grey. I recall seeing photos over the years of planes parked together at terminals highlighting the colour variations.
Whether this lighter shade was intentional or due to fading and maintenance issues I don't know, but I also recall some discussion about a few planes being repainted in lighter shades.
Certainly, the 747s that frequented my hometown of Sydney all seem to have the 'standard' shade of grey.

And ummmm, before anyone else gets ideas, I am sure United didn't use fifty shades of grey on their fleet, wink!

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Bunumuring.
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slcguy
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:00 pm

I don't have any pictures but I do remember the lighter shade of grey planes. It didn't make much difference because the regular battleship paint job faded so quickly and United wasn't repainting fast enough, so they all kinda ended up looking the same anyway. It was never my favorite livery!
 
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lindy field
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:48 pm

I don't think there are many photos in the database of the lighter colors but here's one of a 727.

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ramprat74
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:58 pm

It also had black outlined letters.


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Brick
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:07 pm

I caught one at ORD in 1999:


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Photo © Mark Abbott



I remember these aircraft were hard to properly expose as well as process.
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cschleic
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:37 pm

Seems like any paint scheme that Steve Wolf came up with was hard to photograph. He was into dark and gray.
 
UA444
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:55 pm

They were called the ghost planes. I think it was one or two 727s. I flew on one.
 
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FlyCaledonian
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:46 pm


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Photo © George Canciani


The 'United Shuttle' titles show, to me, that it was the serid font used with the Battleship Grey colours that was part of the problem. If they had used the later bold 'U N I T E D' titles in white, I think that would have worked better.


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Alternatively, the 'Shuttle by United' colours would have worked well, just needing the addition of the three stripes between the dark blue belly and white top.
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rbavfan
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:28 pm

I think Aeroflt did the combinations best with their new livery. Its not just an even dark blue along the bottom & full tail. They added curved lines that make a huge difference.
 
AA737-823
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:57 pm

Quoting lindy field (Reply 3):
I don't think there are many photos in the database of the lighter colors but here's one of a 727.

Interesting to note that they couldn't be bothered to apply the lighter shade to the radome.

Also, the battleship scheme never really worked well for the 727's #2 engine inlet. Just looks off.
 
catiii
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:02 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 10):
Interesting to note that they couldn't be bothered to apply the lighter shade to the radome.

It's probably less that they "couldn't be bothered" and more that the radome needed to be swapped out at some point from a non lighter shade airframe.
 
UA444
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:14 pm

The radome was swapped out. You can see the lighter radome in the picture Brick posted. So they definitely did it right.

[Edited 2015-10-25 14:16:40]
 
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gunsontheroof
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:23 pm

Never heard of this before...very interesting. I have to confess that I was a pretty big fan of the battleship livery while it was in play. Not terribly crazy about it in retrospect, but I definitely don't revile it like many of the users on this board do.

Quoting SLCGuy (Reply 2):
United wasn't repainting fast enough

I remember noticing this during the 1990s when I was still a kid and didn't really know much about how these things worked. I think I was still seeing an occasional UA plane in the Saul Bass livery at SEA as late as 1998 or 1999 and thinking it was pretty weird.
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KGRB
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:29 pm

It reminds me of one of the "experimental" liveries that Northwest tried out during their own battleship gray-era.

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As much as many of us liked spotting these "battleship gray" liveries, it seems like the airlines that had them were trying to find ways to rid of them. While Northwest's gray livery did last longer than United's, (1989-2003 and 1993-2004, respectively) they were both relatively short-lived (at least compared to their predecessors). US Airways' dark blue livery was replaced even more quickly, after only nine years.

The dark liveries were expensive, prone to fading, and caused the aircraft to heat up even more in the summer (which was a problem for US especially, with new-found hubs in PHX and LAS).
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UA444
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:43 pm

Quoting gunsontheroof (Reply 13):

I remember noticing this during the 1990s when I was still a kid and didn't really know much about how these things worked. I think I was still seeing an occasional UA plane in the Saul Bass livery at SEA as late as 1998 or 1999 and thinking it was pretty weird

Except it's not weird. Livery changes take years to do. Saul bass livery was gone after about 5 years. Not "weird" or a long time.

I didn't like the battleship back in the 90s because the Rainbow colors were beautiful and the best livery UA has ever had. Now, I'd take the battleship over the current garbage.

[Edited 2015-10-25 15:45:16]
 
aerokiwi
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:52 pm

Interesting.

The battleship livery always appeared to me in photos to be a dirty, browny grey. Never understood why they went with that particular shade. Like I don't understand the current AA shade - talk about flat.

But this lighter one really works I reckon. A shame.

Also, can we take a moment to marvel at what a truly beautiful aircraft the 727 was/is. I think this has to be the single most gorgeous narrowbody jetliner. That tail. Those wings. Sigh.
 
warden145
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:40 pm

Quoting gunsontheroof (Reply 13):
I have to confess that I was a pretty big fan of the battleship livery while it was in play. Not terribly crazy about it in retrospect, but I definitely don't revile it like many of the users on this board do.

You're not the only one   while it didn't age well, I always thought the battleship livery, before it had a chance to fade, looked very classy and professional (and I have much the same opinion of the CO globe livery and DL's Ron Allen livery). On the other hand, I think I'm one of the few people on here who actively disliked the "Shades of Blue" livery that replaced the battleship...
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rta
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:50 pm

Quoting UA444 (Reply 15):
over the current garbage.

I wonder if we'll be saying the same thing whenever they decide to change it next.
"give us back the United/Globe!!"   
 
UA444
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:01 am

Quoting rta (Reply 18):

Seeing how I've been seeing that damn thing for 25 years, I've had more than enough time to get sick of it. I never liked it, long before the merger. CO had a better livery and logo before it. Saul Bass was a genius.

[Edited 2015-10-25 17:02:19]
 
fiddlerkrt
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:05 am

Quoting gunsontheroof (Reply 13):
I have to confess that I was a pretty big fan of the battleship livery while it was in play. Not terribly crazy about it in retrospect, but I definitely don't revile it like many of the users on this board do.

Me too! Probably my favorite UA livery while the current one is by far my least favorite.
 
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PA727
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:08 am

Quoting warden145 (Reply 17):
I think I'm one of the few people on here who actively disliked the "Shades of Blue" livery that replaced the battleship...

You're not alone. For the life of me, I can't understand why that livery is so popular. Way too monochromatic for my tastes, looks a bit washed out. Like in the old days when the tint knob on a color TV was broken.
 
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LAX772LR
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:33 am

I wonder how many people salivated as they clicked on this title, thinking that it meant a lighter Battleship was being tested for application to the current fleet.  
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
aerokiwi
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Mon Oct 26, 2015 6:59 am

Quoting warden145 (Reply 17):
On the other hand, I think I'm one of the few people on here who actively disliked the "Shades of Blue" livery that replaced the battleship...

I'm with you there. What particularly irked was the fade out on the tail against the clumsy, block cheatline on the fuselage - they simply didn't match.

And the 747 in particular where they brought the blue belly too far up the fuselage - yeesh!
 
bunumuring
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:09 pm

The 'Shades of Blue' colourscheme was definitely my favourite United colourscheme, by far. It always looked spectacular on the 747s taking off and landing while spotting at Sydney Airport's 'beach' spotting location, with the waters of Botany Bay in the foreground and a deep blue sky behind...
Sigh...
Now all we get are the boring white and grey ex-Con colours on the 777-200ERs with a tail logo I feel is very very dated! Thankfully at least, the promised Dreamliner 9s will have a wavy cheatline to break up the boring fuselage colours ...
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United_fan
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:10 pm

I personally liked the battleship grey . It looked great on the 747 ,DC10 and especially the 727. I also liked the white 'Shuttle by United' .
"Suspicion is a matter of opinion"
 
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AA777223
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:39 pm

Quoting warden145 (Reply 17):
You're not the only one   while it didn't age well, I always thought the battleship livery, before it had a chance to fade, looked very classy and professional (and I have much the same opinion of the CO globe livery and DL's Ron Allen livery). On the other hand, I think I'm one of the few people on here who actively disliked the "Shades of Blue" livery that replaced the battleship...

I agree. A fresh battleship looked great to me! When the 777s were new, I thought they looked very, very sharp. Though, I aslo loved Shades of Blue.

Quoting UA444 (Reply 19):
Seeing how I've been seeing that damn thing for 25 years, I've had more than enough time to get sick of it. I never liked it, long before the merger. CO had a better livery and logo before it. Saul Bass was a genius.

A genius?! It was white with four stripes! It's not too off of the "Eurowhite" that everyone talks so negatively about (not that I necessarily mind those designs). I never got the significance of the colors they chose for that stripe. Orange?

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 24):
The 'Shades of Blue' colourscheme was definitely my favourite United colourscheme, by far. It always looked spectacular on the 747s taking off and landing while spotting at Sydney Airport's 'beach' spotting location, with the waters of Botany Bay in the foreground and a deep blue sky behind...

I do agree. I loved shades of blue. I thought it was one of the most beautiful liveries ever.
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Polot
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:46 pm

Quoting AA777223 (Reply 26):
A genius?! It was white with four stripes! It's not too off of the "Eurowhite" that everyone talks so negatively about (not that I necessarily mind those designs). I never got the significance of the colors they chose for that stripe. Orange?

It was just a cheatline, which many people in A.net hold as some gold standard of livery design and originality for some reason, despite the fact that it was just a trend that most of the airlines followed.

As for the colors...well it was the 70s. The Rainbow livery, while I do like it, is ridiculously dated. Just like how the Battleship grey livery screams 90's business.

But I think UA444 was talking about CO's old pre-globe livery/logo, which was also designed by Saul Bass (at least the logo, not sure about the livery). Their old livery also looks incredibly dated however.
 
iahcsr
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:37 pm

Just wondering..
If in the merger repaint UA had gone with a sort of hybrid CO/ua look replacing the grey underside and engines with dark blue. Would that have 'freshened' the appearance for a 'new' UA?
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United Airline
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:37 am

Wonder if UA will come up with an all new livery soon.

I liked the grey livery too. Very classy and elegant. That was the best time of UA. It was truely a top top airline
 
ckfred
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RE: United Battleship Livery Tested In Lighter Colors

Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:54 pm

The gray and blue livery was pretty, but it presented problems. I remember reading a WSJ article, and UA had a problem with ground vehicles banging into airplanes, because the lower portions of fuselages were hard to see at night.

The dark gray did make a/c units work harder, especially when parked for extended periods of time in hot condiditons.

It was noted that at every airline, Steve Wolf decided to paint aircraft in gray and/or dark blue. The second livery at Republic, after the modified North Central livery, was predominantly gray. UA had the gray-and-blue livery. US had the dark blue livery that was ditched, after the merger with HP.

A friend of mine who flies for AA hated the gray-and-blue livery, because it was hard to see when flying in overcast conditions. White paint reflects light and is a contrast against cloudy skies. Bare metal really reflects light and is also a contrast. The old Hughes Air West scheme (bright yellow with purple trim) stuck out in any sort of sky. The UA gray tended to blend in.

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