New Feathers – Plane & Pilot Magazine | Aviation

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You were proud once. And why not? All eyes were focused on your pride and joy while it rested comfortably on the ramp in all its glory. Yes, your bird was once shiny and brightly colored with accent stripes that would cause those passing by to take a deep breath and sigh with envy. Now even the requisite resident mouse-hunting cat at your FBO won’t give it a second look.

If the paint on your airplane is duller than a roomful of mathematicians, then maybe it’s time to think about getting some new feathers for your bird with a professional paint job to restore your aircraft to its, as Bruce Springsteen once sang, glory days.

So as not to let it pass you by, let’s look at what it really takes to make the right decision to repaint your airplane. While it will help to have a few zeros to the left of the decimal point in your checking account, there are some other considerations other than cost that you need to keep in mind as you decide about getting your bird repainted.

First, does your aircraft need a new paint job, or will a professional detail restore the lost luster? That may be a question for a specialist to determine—but certainly worth investigating, as a pro detail will cost much less than a full repaint. Generally speaking, if there is enough base paint available, which can be determined by a paint thickness measurement test tool, then paint correction by way of detailing and refinishing can be a viable alternative. (See Detailing Your Plane.)

[Photo: Jaime Steel/Steel Aviation]

However, while detailing can remove visible and hidden contaminants from the exterior finish, there will be some circumstances where you may need to consider a full repaint. This will commonly be the case for those aircraft that have spent their entire decades in the hot South or Southwest sun, as they may not have enough base paint available for detailing.

While you may have considered vinyl wraps or decals as a viable, lower-cost option to repainting, vinyl…

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