Why are most aircraft white?
Your question of the month of May (2017)
Elliot, 8, from Stamford (CT, USA)
There are only a few colorful passenger aircraft and most of them are actually white – except for the respective airline’s logo, of course.
But why is this the case? Why can’t a Lufthansa aircraft be completely blue or yellow?
In pure technical terms, it wouldn’t be a problem. But there are at least three reasons why airports aren’t more colorful and aircraft are mostly white:
1. White deflects sunlight better. Other colors, particularly dark ones, absorb it, which means the aircraft heats up more. This is something you might have experienced in light and dark cars.
2. Costs also of course play a role, as special paint is more expensive than standard white.
3. And every mark is also easily visible on white! “Hang on, that can’t be a good thing?” you might think. But it is, because marks such as oil, rust, and similar marks can be seen much more easily, and damage to the aircraft discovered much more quickly.
However, despite the advantages of white, there’s no reason to dispense with color completely on an aircraft. Aircraft are sometimes decorated with huge stickers for special occasions such as the FIFA World Cup.
There is even a plane with Lu and Cosmo on it! :-)