Painting an aircraft is a complex job and has many steps that must be carefully worked through. Planes are usually painted every seven to ten years, and the process of painting an aircraft takes almost a few weeks. Depending on the type of paint used, there may be a need to apply a base coat or clear coat. If the painting job is done incorrectly, it can be hazardous for aircraft performance. As a result, it is very important that one has a basic understanding of the painting process and how to properly execute it.
The Process of Aircraft Painting
It is essential to strip a plane of old paint as painting color over existing paint will add to the weight of the airplane. The paint of an aircraft usually comes in three layers, including the primer, base coat, and topcoat, creating a shiny appearance.
Aircraft painting with a paintbrush is too time-consuming and costly, so experts usually use spray tools for accomplishing their job. Many aircraft are painted with a thin layer of spray with low pressure and high volume application. After applying a primer, the airplane is painted with polyurethane paint. There are two ways of stripping old paint; the first method being sanding the paint off, which is again a time-consuming process that can lead to one harming the surface of a plane if done in the wrong way. The second method is to spray solvent on a plane and give it some time to dissolve the existing paint naturally, which will be completed in approximately 24 hours.
Types of Aircraft Paint
After painting an aircraft, all paint layers add to the total weight of the aircraft. However, you can paint your aircraft with thin layers to ensure less paint is used and to make the plane lighter. The color that should be used for an aircraft should primarily be chrome-free and easily washable. Degreasing is required and is executed by using soap and water.
In general, there are two types of paints used for painting an aircraft:
Epoxy – This type of paint sticks on an aircraft’s surface very quickly. The paint will not break quickly over time, and epoxy does not fade, oxidize, or break easily due to its high chemical resistance.
Enamel – The most significant difference between enamel and epoxy is that enamel is not so costly and is not as dangerous as epoxy.
Both paints can be used together, as enamel is usually used for the design of an aircraft and epoxy can be used for the aircraft’s strength and shine. Experts always do the painting job; hence, they wear the right clothes, use special equipment, and follow the proper steps to accomplish aircraft painting.
Why Is Painting An Aircraft Necessary?
Paint usually protects aircraft against oxidation, fuel spills, and salts that can be harmful to metal. It also reduces friction drag and improves the airplane’s exterior sections. Sometimes, the area between the metal of an aircraft and paint erodes, which causes worm corrosion. This is why regularly painting a plane is necessary to prevent all harm.
High volume, low pressure, or HVLP devices are specifically essential for aircraft painting. These devices help to apply thin layers that will look good and will not increase the aircraft’s weight by a significant amount. Painting experts use spray paints instead of using a regular paint brush or roller. It would be best to paint your aircraft in a clean environment with adequate ventilation.
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