Flying Colours: More Than Just Aesthetics

The use of paint and coatings by airlines is far more than just the selection of an elegant livery for tail fins and fuselages. High-tech coatings can also deliver better functionality and environmental performance for aircraft, as Sarah Gibbons and Keith Nuthall reveal.

Boeing 787-9, N1015B (c/n 60327), wears a striking scheme which, according, to the US manufacturer was “the largest full-body decal ever tested on a composite aircraft,” showing how graphics, logos and photographs can be used with the same results as paint.
AIRTEAMIMAGES.COM/OLIVIER CORNELOUP

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic causing a global drop in demand for flights, tens of thousands of commercial jets scored across the skies every day, encountering all sorts of hardship and weathering on the skin of the fuselage. But high-tech coatings on aircraft play an increasingly important role in helping them fly smoothly, reducing drag and carbon emissions. With carriers around the world having to stick to the carbon offsetting and reduction scheme (CORSIA), established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), sustainable operations count, and specialist coatings can help.

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