Whiter is lighter

How painting airplanes white improves energy and climate footprints

How do you make an aircraft several hundred kilograms lighter (as much as 30 large items of luggage) without turning passengers’ suitcases away at the boarding counter?


By painting it white.

Strange but true. The more colorful the aircraft, the more consecutive layers of paint have to be applied. On large aircrafts like an Airbus A380, a standard paint job weighs around 700 kilograms. A more colorful design with numerous layers of paint can add several hundred kilos.

A wealth of benefits

However, disposing of paint altogether in order to save even more weight is not feasible. The metallic surface would be directly exposed to the weather, which would allow dirt to deposit more quickly and accelerate corrosion. A base coat makes sense in terms of both safety and cost.

A white finish has another advantage: solar radiation does not cause the aircraft to heat up as much, so there is less need for air conditioning inside.

The reductions in weight and electricity usage also save significant amounts of fuel in the long run, which lowers operating costs while protecting the environment.

The weight of paint

Elaborate surfaces with several layers of paint naturally add more weight than simple designs. But it is not only the aircraft design that affects the amount of paint applied. Large number of particles in the ambient air during the painting process can lead to fine inclusions and paint defects.

These are visually unattractive, but more importantly, they pose a quality problem, as the paint in these areas is damaged more quickly and the metal beneath can corrode over time. Spot repair work can eliminate such faults, but it is first essential to identify them. The whole process increases the effort and energy invested and leads to additional costs. In order to prevent this and minimize safety risks, a precisely fitting intake and exhaust air filtration system should be part of every high-quality painting system.

Freudenberg Filtration Technologies’ Viledon filterCair Service package helps companies to ensure their on-site conditions are always at a high standard.

The Viledon filterCair Service covers a wide range of requirements. The BASIC module includes a status analysis of the painting process, while the AIR BALANCE module can be used to visualize and optimize the flow conditions in the painting system. There are also all-in-one packages that check operating materials, conduct process-specific damage analysis, and put all system parameters to the test. Painting planes saves costs in the long term. And once the conditions are right, there’s nothing to stop a smart new paint job.

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