Ever wondered why Airplanes are mostly painted white?
1. ITS CHEAPER AND REDUCES WEIGHT
“Paint adds between 600-1,200 lbs (273-544 kg) of weight to an aircraft,” a spokesperson for Boeing told Telegraph Travel. Extra weight means more fuel is burned, and 544kg equates to around eight passengers.
And airlines take the issue of weight very seriously. In the 1980s, for example, Robert Crandall, the former chief executive of American Airlines, claimed the carrier had made annual savings of $40,000 by removing just one olive from every salad served on board its flights.
The paint itself costs money too, and repainting an aircraft uses a lot of it. “Approximately 120 gallons (454 litres) of paint are used on a typical 747; 90 gallons (341 litres) on a 767; and 110 gallons (416 litres) on a 777, while a typical 787 Dreamliner paint scheme involves 800-1000 lbs (362-453 kg) of paint,” said Boeing. All told, repainting a plane costs between £36,375 ($50,000) and £145,503 ($200,000).
Furthermore, airlines often end up selling their aircraft to other carriers. They will find it harder to do so if the colour scheme is anything but white.
2. IT KEEPS THE PLANE COOL
In the same way that lighter colours dominate our summer wardrobes because they are cooler, aircraft are painted white to reflect sunlight.
“The main reason why aircraft are painted white or light colours is to reflect sunlight and minimise both the heating and any potential damage from solar radiation,” R. John Hansman, Aeronautics and Astronautics professor,
3. DAMAGE CONTROL.
The white colour of most aircraft makes it easier for any cracks, dents, oil spills and other faults to be identified and repaired swiftly.
4. SEARCH AND RESCUE.
It depends where the crash occurs, but, should a plane go down, a white fuselage may well be easier to spot more from the air - another good reason for avoiding colour.
5. REDUCING BIRD STRIKES.
Aircraft visibility could be enhanced by white or brightly-coloured exteriors to potentially increase its detection and avoidance by birds, according to research, such as a US study published in the science journal Human-Wildlife Interactions in 2011.
The study looked at the correlation between bird strike rates among different airlines and aircraft colour schemes, assuming that “Darker aircraft colour schemes could potentially reduce the contrast between aircraft and the visual background [and] potentially reduce the ability of birds to detect aircraft in sufficient time to avoid a strike.
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