Date: 01 Oct 97 19:57:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bizfixer) Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com References: 1 Followups: 1
View raw article or MIME structure
<<Why are airliners painted white?>> As some posters have hinted, airliner paint has to do with heat issues. Originally, jet airliners were painted white - or unpainted (second choice, but saving weight/fuel) - because of GROUND considerations. Early jets did not have APUs and relied on ground airconditioning-heating units for passenger compartment comfort levels. A transport aircraft sitting in high Northern hemisphere (e.g., FRA) at 70 degrees F could reach cabin temperatures of over 100 F in a little over an hour. (Imagine what would happen in Rio, Dakar or Bombay!) Early air-duct systems did not allow enough airflow from ground units to overcome this; fuel was cheap, and white paint was a big help. Early APU's were also inadequate for anything over 45 minutes on the ground, and ground units continued to be used to supplement them for longer ground stays (overnights, long turn-arounds, etc.). Even today, ground units are sometimes used to supplement APU's for widebody support when long stays in the sun are necessary. It is a lot less important today, however, and paint jobs are now much more in the domain of marketing that engineering. Any paint is expensive and extracts a weight penalty. There is ongoing argument over the relative maintenance costs of painted vs. unpainted aircraft (some of which are simply dependent on incumbent maintenance facilities). >From the flight safety standpoint, there is no question but what darker colors are more visible than light colors, of which white is the worst (even true in automobile accident statistics!). Military considerations are entirely different, and have nothing to do with commercial A/L considerations. For what it's worth.