The Reason's Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint Them

Joshua949

New Member
The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint Them

I was reading the American Way magazine online & there was the answer right in front of me that I have been searching for. Below is a quote from the president of AA, Mr. Gerard Arpey, informing us why they don't paint their aircraft.

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You have probably noticed that unlike other carriers, the exteriors of American’s aircraft are mostly unpainted. Way back in the 1930s, the leaders of this airline chose polishing over painting, and that decision produces benefits to this day. At that time, the Douglas DC-3 — developed specifically for American — was the workhorse of our fleet, and the original decision not to paint that aircraft was mostly about looks. While other carriers’ planes sported fancy, painted-on designs, American’s leaders preferred the elegant look of the DC-3’s unadorned aluminum skin.

The decision not to paint our fleet turned out to be a smart one, for reasons that go well beyond the cosmetic. For one thing, flying unpainted aircraft saves us a lot of money in fuel expense, since not adding paint makes an aircraft lighter — and lighter aircraft burn less fuel. On top of that, chipped or peeling paint can increase a plane’s wind resistance, reducing fuel efficiency. Because it takes less time to polish than to strip and repaint, the decision not to paint has also saved us a lot of labor and materials expense over the years. And since it is easier to find corrosion or dents when there is no paint covering an airplane’s surface, there is a safety benefit. Finally, polishing instead of painting is a good choice for the environment, because stripping paint can create a waste disposal problem.

Unfortunately, we cannot avoid paint altogether. We paint those parts of our airplanes that are made of composite materials, as well as areas particularly prone to corrosion. In these instances, we use coatings low in volatile organic compounds almost exclusively, so the paint is as environmentally friendly as possible.

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MrLeisure757

New Member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint Them

VERY cool. I have always wondered myself.
 

rhs

New Member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint Them

Sounds like a bunch of hooey to me. It seems like there is something in 'Nuts' (that Southwest Airlines book) about them painting their previously naked theme plane 'Silver One' because the polishing was too expensive. Maybe it's an economies of scale thing, though, since AA has so many naked planes.
 

MQAAord

Scheherazade
Staff member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint Them

[ QUOTE ]
Sounds like a bunch of hooey to me. It seems like there is something in 'Nuts' (that Southwest Airlines book) about them painting their previously naked theme plane 'Silver One' because the polishing was too expensive. Maybe it's an economies of scale thing, though, since AA has so many naked planes.

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It was actually one of CR Smith's 'quirks' that he personally preferred the look of the polished aluminum to paint. He rejected every 'painted' livery he was ever shown for AA, and the tradition remains.

The only livery I like better than AAs was the last TWA paint job with the white top, red stripe, black belly and bold TWA on the tail. It was beautiful. (Designed by a TWA pilot by the way, who better to know what looks great on a plane!)
 

Maximilian_Jenius

Super User
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint Them

Yea that TWA livery was HOT one of the best airline livery's I have ever seen.

I loved Delta's current scheme when it first came out but I'm already tired of it. I found myself never getting tired of TWA's.

With Leo on the outs I crossing my fingers that Delta will introduce a new exciting livery and not always be so southern conservative.


Matthew
 

WillNotFly4Food

Well-Known Member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint Them

Whatever money they would use for livery design and implementation would be more wisely used lining the pockets of... doh!
 

EDUC8-or

Well-Known Member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint Them

I saw a couple NWA 75s in MCO the other day and they looked really sharp!
 

Joshua949

New Member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint

AA also had white A300B4-605R aircraft.

If I'm not mistaken, I still think AA has white painted Super 80's in storage right now.
 

flycanuck

New Member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint

AA has a real nice livery, they really stand out among other planes. My personal favorite was Northwest's old livery, the new one is alright but I don't think it is as recognizable as the old one.
 

davetheflyer

New Member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint

I saw an AA 767 painted in a retro paint scheme in BOS a few months back. It looked even better than the normal livery.
 

MQAAord

Scheherazade
Staff member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint

I asked someone once why some scarebusses (A300s) were painted and some were polished, and I was told it had something to do with a composite material used in construction. Why they're not all painted or all polished I don't know!

The Reno planes were painted for the short time they were in service with AA. It might have been cheaper to slap a paint job on them and go than to strip & polish them up.
 

MQAAord

Scheherazade
Staff member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint

[ QUOTE ]
I saw an AA 767 painted in a retro paint scheme in BOS a few months back. It looked even better than the normal livery.

[/ QUOTE ]

Are you sure it was a 767? There's retro 757 in the old DC-7 lightning bolt livery, and a 737 in the original 707 livery. They both look really sharp. We called them the retro-jets, and I got to work on the 737 once.
 

pkloop

New Member
Re: The Reason\'s Why Airline Such As American Decide To Polish Their Aircraft & Not Paint

I may be mistaken but I think the paint weights upwards of 2,000 pounds or more. It is a weight saver not to paint. More useful load!
 
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