Dear friends and followers, welcome back to my channel, today we’ll talk about why most commercial airplanes are painted in shiny white colours and the question arises Why paint airplanes in the first place? That, and a few more interesting facts about airplane paint jobs in today’s video, so let’s get painting! [Pilot radio chatter and music] When a brand new plane rolls out of the factory, they are very often painted in a greenish, anti-corrosive paint so that the plane can be flown or moved to the final assembly line and paint shop. Therefore, they are nicknamed the green jets and are a rare sight for plane spotters. But once the plane arrives at the paint shop – let’s take an Airbus A380 as an example – it takes approximately 34 painters working three shifts, each day for 15 days to wash, prepare, and paint the plane. After six thousand working hours they’ve roughly applied 1,100 kilograms of paint onto the plane And that procedure needs to be repeated every seven to eight years depending on the use of the plane and cleaning schedule. So after applying a minimum of two layers the plane gains a few more pounds to its dry operating weight and even more if a third, more colourful layer is sprayed onto it such as the company logo etc. Therefore putting fancy detailed liveries onto the planes is not only costly at first but also increases the operating costs. For example a Boeing 737 paint job can be as heavy as 500 kilograms, which equals six passengers Who aren’t paying for their flight and increasing the fuel consumption. The question arises, so why even bother painting the planes at all? So far it’s just expensive! After the second world war paintless planes were very common. American Airlines was particularly famous for their shiny aluminum look. But while it saves money it left the aircraft exposed and unprotected especially in harsh weather conditions. Subsequently the money they saved on fuel they had to use to frequently polish the surface otherwise it would have degraded and become tarnished and besides that passengers getting on board complained that the reflected glare hurt their eyes. First world problems. So very often airlines choose to maintain a clean, white look for their airplanes. A white paint, job unveils oil or other fluid leaks more easily, dents and cracks can Also be located quickly. The price for a colourful, paint job can vary from $50,000 to $200,000 depending on size and detail. Furthermore, airlines often end up selling the aircraft to other carriers And they will find it harder to do so if the colour scheme is anything but white. And sometimes you spot these airline hybrids Meaning you see the remains of a previous livery mixed together with a new logo. uhh, it just looks horrible. More reason for white airplanes are reports by search rescue teams Who find it easier to identify white airplane debris after a crash and rumours have it that White airplanes are less prone to bird strikes as they are higher in contrast compared to planes with colourful paint jobs. Therefore, birds have more time to react and can so avoid the approaching plane. That to me means military airplanes, which are painted in darker colours or camouflage colours would encounter more bird strikes than commercial airliners. Maybe a military pilot can comment on that please, I highly doubt that rumour, by the way. But the primary reason why commercial jet airplanes are painted white is shown in this video right here Using a laser temperature instrument We were able to measure the surface temperature of a black painted car indicating 162 Fahrenheit. Comparing that to a white car parked right next to it shows 120 Fahrenheit. A temperature difference of nearly 50 Fahrenheit. How is that possible? White paint is 12 times more reflective than darker colours. Consider the temperature changes an airplane’s surface has to undergo during each flight. Cruising temperatures can be as low as minus 57 degrees, and on landing it can be as hot as 45 degrees. Plus the ascending heat of black apron surfaces warms up the plane even more, and all this can create a temperature difference up to a 100 degrees. Adding another 20 degrees due to black paint will cause a lot of thermal expansion stress on the metal and paint. With time that will create tiny hair cracks. And today’s modern airliners, Which are partly built out of composite materials Have real problems compensating for thermal stress. So you could say that the airplane wears sun block rather than a black t-shirt to protect itself from the sun. And, as always, Concorde hits it out of the ballpark. Engineers had to develop a unique paint especially for Concorde because the wings heated up to 127 degrees during cruise flight. Talking about thermal expansion right there. Side-note, ever thought about why countries near the equator prefer driving around in white cars? Think about it. That’s it for today thank you very much for your time and don’t forget a good pilot is always learning. Wishing you all the best. See you next week, your captain Joe. [music]



  2. for me… I think planes were painted white to make it look fancy…I mean who would take a flight with ugly looking exterior… lol

  3. Thanks Captain Joe! I always thought it was so hungover pilots could find their plane easier! Best wishes and regards sir!

  4. My boss told me a joke a while back. "Why aren't planes painted black?" Answer – "because they wouldn't work anymore". Yeah, he's working at McDonald's now.

  5. Retired USAF fighter jet mechanic here. Working on top of a light colored plane is substantially cooler than a Vietnam forest scheme green, brown and tan colored plane. The heat is very noticeable whether sitting on the plane or standing on it with your steel toe boots.

  6. The solvent in the paint evaporates so the actual weight of the paint decreases significantly after the paint cures

  7. As an aerospace engineer I can clarify , using white paint instead of black. Is to prevent a phenomenon known as black body radiation . Reflectiveness doesn't play a major role. It's just the color gradient falls into the right spectrum in which the electrons from uv light gets acted up hence being excited to a higher or lower level.

  8. First of all, thank you very much for all this interesting information.
    Secondly, I would like to know if there is someone like you who can explain facts about military aviation. It will be a great help.

  9. I live in a country that is near the equator and you can really feel the difference of temperatures when you sit in the car, the white car is comparatively cooler where as the black car is boiling hot, you have to keep the door open for a couple of minutes until you can sit inside

  10. After Jay Leno had a bad experience on Continental Airlines in the late 1990s he asked his audience one night, "Why are Continental Airplanes painted gray on the bottom?" Answer, "Its to hide the duct tape!"

    I worked for Continental for twenty years and we all had a great laugh about it. At one point we hired Rodney Dangerfield to do commercials saying that Continental never gets any respect. How the industry and flying passengers have changed.

  11. "Commercial planes are generally white because white color provides a thermal advantage, it helps in easier inspection of cracks and dents on the fuselage and is also cost-effective."

  12. The reason some airlines choose not to paint their planes white like Air New Zealand is mainly due to advertising purposes. Planes with a solid paint color or colors tend to allow people to instantly recognize the airline. Southwest airlines for example is instantly recognizable even when the plane is miles in the air. It can also act a a symbol or pride for an airline too.

  13. Fun fact about some aerospace paint…particularly southwest airlines for example, because their planes are colorful. The paint they use is derived from an eggplant. An eggplant you ask? Eggplants reflect UV radiation underneath the dark layer it exposes….

    Source….I work for a company that does this.

  14. Captain Joe, I am a military veteran who served with the US Airforce, I had asked a few pilots about the bird problem. They told me that they don't encounter more or less then commercial airliners

  15. As an Air Force crew chief (mechanic) on both F-16s and KC-135s we have a pretty low bird strike problem. They get hit once every few months.

  16. I saw that you stated the temps of cars in degrees F, and stated temps of planes in degrees C. As a U.S. scientist, I prefer you use Celsius, and let us ignorant backward nations adjust. I noticed at most scene cuts, there is a white flash. That is pretty annoying. A quick fade or a dissolve would be easier on the eyes.

  17. Wow, pretty interesting! I was aware of the thermal and visibility reasons, the others I guess I didn't consider! thanks, very informing!

  18. The paint facilities he talked about at 1:20 are highly inefficient. I work for Boeing and our paint process only takes us 40 painter's on each shift and 2 12 hour shifts. And we get our planes done in about 5-7 days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *