Black Paint

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Black Paint

Postby bluemax » Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:05 pm

An aircraft painted black is beautiful, especially the black Highlanders I have seen. I would imagine the black color would make for one very hot cockpit in the summer sun, but are there any other factors that would make it undesireable? For example, can the fiberglass fuel tanks handle the heat, and maintain their integrity? Maybe a side benefit . . . A black paint job could probably skip the Filler/UV blocker coating(s), and save a little weight. Just curious.
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Re: Black Paint

Postby HS-JAT » Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:35 am

In reference to heat in the cockpit. In Thailand it is HOT. I don't think the black paint would make much a difference in the cockpit, however one of the best mods I ever did was to put white sticker material on the Lexan roof. The sun here will beat you down fast and make you miserable.
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Re: Black Paint

Postby Clark in AZ » Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:11 am

On the practical side, it will make you less visible to other aircraft.
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Re: Black Paint

Postby SuperFly » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:44 am

If you are going to paint it black, you will want to preshrink your finishing tapes before you put them down. Have seen pictures of some that were not, and when sitting in the hot sun the tapes shrunk. Only fix then is a complete recover. SuperFlight offers preshrunk tapes, but they are a pain in the backside to get to lay nice. It is my opinion that youd be better off preshinking your own tapes and go to about 250 or 275 degrees. Then you have a little bit of correction room if you need to "fix" a tape. The SuperFlight ones I think are shunk past 325 giving almost no shrink left to fix small mistakes.
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Re: Black Paint

Postby jak » Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:26 am

On any dark colors you need to use the store bought preshrunk tapes and take the time to get them to lay flat if you use tapes with any shrink left they will shrink more leaving you with a mess to clean up. If you have this mess to clean up remove the tape, it will come off. sand the area where the tape was to soften the paint edges and reapply the tape getting it down correctly them re paint the area. Jak
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Re: Black Paint

Postby av8rps » Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:31 pm

Point #1 - I used to run car dealerships, and living here in Wisconsin we capitalized by purchasing used cars at auctions for a song in AZ and FL by buying the black cars that were hard to sell in hot climates . They were just too hot to be comfortable, or the for the A/C to keep up in the hot areas of the country. (Wisconsinites never cared if the car was dark colored, and in fact it was nicer in the winter).

Point #2 - I like to paint my airplanes with bright colors so if I ever go down and a search team is sent to find me, my brightly colored airplane will be easy to find. As we all know, minutes can make a big difference sometimes...

Point #3 - I used to fly R/C planes until my late teens. It was common knowledge that a dark colored plane was much harder to see in the air, so we tried to keep them to the lighter, brighter colors. An all black airplane is probably going to be very hard to see by another aircraft.

Point #4 - I would be concerned about tapes as well as fabric shrinking up from the excess solar heat baking everything. If I recall, we already are not completely shrinking our fabrics in fear of bending and distorting the smaller chromoly tubing. So I'm pretty sure a dark color exposed to intense sunlight would finish the job of shrinking the fabric the rest of the way, which would not be good for tubing and tapes.

Now that's not to say I wouldn't paint an airplane black if I really loved that look. But I would be aware of all the things that were a compromise as listed above.
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Re: Black Paint

Postby bluemax » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:03 pm

I appreciate all the comments. And I will heed the advice by taking the color choice of "black" out of the running. I guess I might still use it as a trim color, but not as the main color. I kind of like the Southwest Airlines blue, orangy-red, yellow and white. I might design something with those in mind.
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Re: Black Paint

Postby R Rinker » Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:59 pm

I have spent so many hours dealing with frost on top of the wings & tail. It's always when you are already pushed for time trying to keep a schedule on days when there is very little daylight anyhow. I will always turn the wing around so the top faces what tiny bit of heat there is from the sun, and I always noticed where there is a patch of dark paint the frost disappears when the top of the wings painted white is still hard frost. If the top surfaces of wings & elevator are black it would change my whole world of getting the plane flying when it has to be outside before a flight, which is all the time when I'm up north.
Point taken though, of the oven it makes out of it setting in the sun down south...
As far as conspicuousness, piled up on the ground...a white airplane in (we average 3 feet most of the winter) three feet or more of snow is probably not going to be found. I flew search & rescue for years.
These points show the huge difference between south & north. What really 'gets' me is that cars & planes are always engineered in and for the south...then we have to try & make them work in 4o below and piles of snow. I have flown an 0-320 at 40 below. We try not to get caught in 40 below with an 0-470, but can't avoid -30 F in the north, above the Arctic Circle. Those are ground temps...it's always warmer between 1500 & about 5000agl. when it's that cold.
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Re: Black Paint

Postby av8rps » Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:26 am

I agree with your comments Rodger, as I live in central Wisconsin and typically endure relatively harsh winters.

White is not my choice either due to being virtually invisible in snow, and in some regards the same in the sky. On that note, I read once many military planes were silver as that is one of the hardest colors to see in the sky. I really like a very bright yellow, bright red, or a lime green to be seen, whether flying or if needing search and rescue to find me. I know that can be a challenge to make a sharp looking airplane with those colors, but it certainly has been done in the past by others.

I chuckled about the comment about frost on your wings, as I've definitely experienced that exact issue when keeping my plane on skis tied down on tbe ice next to my dock. For us northerners flying these bare-bones homebuilts that aren't exactly well insulated, a little heat soaked up by some darker paint color would be welcome on those extra brisk winter days. Yup, just like you said, all depends where are in relation to the sun :D

In the late 80's I flew an Avid Flyer at minus 36 degrees fahreneit. The little Rotax 2 stroke snowmobile motor loved the extra cold temps, but that was one very cold ride for me. Brrrrrrrr.... I never did that again as I heard noises coming from the airframe I had never heard before, so I thought it best to not tempt fate.
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