Have you ever thought about why planes are mostly painted white? There are several reasons why.
Most commercial planes are painted white for the most part, aside from a company and or airline logo here and there. But why is it so hard to spot a plane nowadays with full-colour paint job livery?
Well, there are many reasons why airline companies prefer not to paint their planes in colour, and it's not necessarily because of costs, as white is very costly too.
After a plane is manufactured, it is primed with an anti-corrosive green undercoat, which protects the plane when it's on its way to the paint booth – which could even be in another country. From then onward, it goes into the spray booth for up to 15 days to receive a few coats of paint.
First of all, painting a full-size commercial plane can cost up to $200,000 and, on top of that, it adds an incredible amount of weight to the aircraft. So much, in fact, that if a plane was unpainted, it could hold a significant amount more passengers.
So why paint it at all? Well, back in the 1950s and 1960s, many airlines didn't paint their planes. But, this proved to have negative effects, such as a lot of glair to the passengers and pilots while on the ground at an airport. Even worse, the planes would be far more susceptible to corrosion.
And as for white paint being the colour of choice. Airlines buy and sell used planes and, in the process, the planes swap companies and therefore need a respray. It has been found that airlines prefer buying used aircraft with minimal colour paint as it costs significantly more to paint white over colour. Furthermore, the extra layers cause the plane to be even heavier. White paint on planes also helps with inspection as well. Engineers can more easily spot oil leaks and bodywork imperfections on a white plane over a multi-coloured variant.
And, lastly, search and rescue teams find it far easier to spot a white plane that has gone down over coloured ones.
Take a look at the video below by YouTube channel, Captain Joe, on Reasons Why Planes Are Painted White. Explained By Captain Joe.