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Why Are Aeroplanes Painted In White?

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

We as humans are very curious by nature. We tend to question the things we find skeptical or doubtful and we strive hard enough to reason with a fact instead of blindly believing it. It is called being human and being human means being curious. And such a curiosity made us think and get into the intricacies of questioning certain things which are accepted blindly by the world. So, this article feeds into our curiosity of getting to the reason behind the purpose why all the passenger airplanes are nearly painted in white, Of course, every airline has its own distinctive branding or livery – comprising colour, graphic, and typographical identifiers – but underneath it all nearly all passenger aircraft sport white paint. Here are a few reasons why and some cool explanations for it.

1. It reflects sunlight and avoids heating:

The main reason why aircraft are painted white or light colours is to reflect sunlight. Other colours will absorb most of the light. This is crucial as when sunlight is absorbed by an aircraft, this heats up the body of an airplane. Painting a passenger plane white minimizes both the heating and potential damage from solar radiation not only when the airplane is in flight, but also when it’s parked on the runway.

2. White doesn’t fade:

When flying at high altitudes, airplanes are completely exposed to various atmospheric conditions. Coloured aircraft tend to fade over time, and thus require repainting to maintain their aesthetic appeal. Aside from the fact that paint adds significant weight to an aircraft –meaning more fuel is burned – the paint itself costs money, too. On the other hand, an airplane that is painted white or a light colour doesn’t appear significantly different even after spending a significant amount of time in the air.

3. It allows damages and defects to notice more easily.

For obvious safety reasons, commercial aircraft are regularly checked for forms of surface damage such as cracks and dents. Nothing works better than white paint as these dents, oil spills and other faults are almost always darker than white, allowing them to be identified and repaired swiftly.

4. It reduces the birds not to hit them.

A bird strike is defined as a collision between a bird and an aircraft that is in flight or one that is taking off, landing, or in a low altitude flight. Bird strikes are common and can be a significant threat to aircraft safety. White exteriors can enhance aircraft visibility and potentially increase its detection and avoidance by birds. Darker aircraft colour schemes, on the other hand, could possibly reduce the contrast between aircraft and the visual background. In turn, this may reduce the ability of birds to detect aircraft in sufficient time to avoid a collision.

Fascinating stuff, eh? Do follow the 306090 Global Website for more such curious content.

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