Re: Why are all airliners white?

Date:         06 Sep 97 02:55:09 
From:         "matt weber" <>
Organization: Customer of Access One Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia
References:   1 2 3
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

iota <> wrote in article <airliners.1997.2025@ohare.Chicago.COM>...
> In article <airliners.1997.1998@ohare.Chicago.COM>, "Stefano P. Pagiola" <> wrote:
> >There is a weight penalty to painting,
> There is a weight penalty, but isn't this offset by the reduction of
> dirty air over the fuselage?

Actually only Airbus aircraft have to be painted, but I think even that is
Boeing was always very careful to make sure that body panels and external
metal parts were always machined and finished in the same direction, so
they all look the same. As a result many Boeing aircraft have minimal if
any paint on them at all. Airbus didn't realize this was a problem until
fairly late in the game. Airbus planes traditionally were machined and
finished whichever way was most convenient, The result is the aircraft
looked like the proverbial checkerboard (pretty awful) if it wasn't painted
The difference direction of finishing causes each panel to appear slightly
different in bright light. As a result Airbus aircraft almost never have
any exposed metal, they look pretty awful if they do.

I would add that while the appear looks lousy, it has no impact on the
performance of the aircraft at all. It was strictly an appearance problem.

There is indeed a weight penalty for paint, and on a wide body it is
sizeable, however on an airbus, if you don't do it, it looks it was built
by a bunch of rank amateurs, and that doesn't sit too well with the
travelling public, so the PR cost would be higher than the weight penalty.