First of all, we are not talking about any white, but a very specific shade, Matterhorn White, called after the famous snow-capped Alpine Mountain. This white paint presents different technical benefits but not only. It has a number of economic advantages as well that you might not think of. Here are 7 reasons why aircraft are white.
1. Easy to apply
White paint is very easy to apply and offers a good coverage of the airframe, which is important to keep airworthiness as its best.
2. Easy to maintain.
Unlike darker colours, white is very easy to maintain. It’s easy to touch up in the case of minor repairs. White is also extremely durable, while red for example is the colour which will be the most subject to fading due to altitude sun and temperature variations, a white layer of paint can last up to 5 years and keep its shiny effect.
3. Better safety.
While inspecting the airframe, it will be easier to spot any cracks, corrosion marks or any oil leaks, which leave dark trails on a white fuselage!
4. Cost efficiency.
Commonly used, the Matterhorn White shade is, therefore, cheaper than any other paint and is very easy to find. While more complex paint jobs will require a lot of different layers of paint, white will only require one which will result in less weight on the airframes. For example, a very basic paint job on a 747 can weigh up to 500 kg!
5. Thermal considerations.
Dark colours will absorb sunlight and conduct the heat into the cabin. White will reflect all the light coming from the sun and therefore prevent overheating the cabin, electronic system and cabin furniture.
Unlike some more media-friendly people such as Donald Trump or Lewis Hamilton, most of the private jet users prefer to avoid the crowds and seek for confidentiality. What is more discreet than a white plane among other white planes?
7. Easy to resell.
Being commonly used and easier to match with one’s taste than very personal colours choices, white aircraft are usually easier to resell, knowing the cost of maintaining catchy paint jobs!
Picture credits: David McIntosh