All posts tagged 'paint'

Taking out the Guesswork

By Adam Doyle – Paint and Interior Sales Manager
Elliott Aviation

For a customer, a large paint and interior project can be very intimidating. In many cases, the aircraft is not planned to look anything like it does when it comes into the shop. However, when doing a project with a major paint and interior work scope, it is critical that there are minimal surprises along the way.

With a mid sized jet or larger, it is impossible to imagine what your paint and interior will look like without help from your paint and interior team. A good team can put projects together on the front end so you can visualize your custom aircraft interior from day one. In addition to visualizing your aircraft, a good team will have everything taken care of for you from ease of communication, to having materials in stock and ready to review.

3D Software
There are programs that are focused on having full 3D renderings of what your interior will look like before you start the project. You pick a variety of materials, woodwork samples, leathers, plating and you are able to have a really good handle on what your aircraft will look like upon completion. Our proprietary system, Envision 2.0, even lets you virtually walk around the cabin and compare different materials in real time.

Materials In Stock
As paint and interior professionals we know that even with advanced technology, it is essential to actually have material on hand to get the most accurate representation possible. A reputable shop will have a large catalog of options for you to choose. That way you don’t just get to see it, but you get to feel it and understand the unique qualities that leather or material may posses.

Design Expertise
The problem that many people may have is that there are TOO many options. That’s why it is important to have a team of designers to really understand your preferences and help guide you through the process. Aircraft paint and interior designers follow all of the latest trends not only in color, but in things like LED lighting, ink-resistant ultra leather, custom carpets and new seat designs. They cannot only save you a lot of time and headache trying to come up with designing a modern cabin.

Paint Chips and Spray Outs
As certain colors like metallics are impossible to properly visualize on a screen, your shop should be able to aid you with paint chips and spray outs. This would be very important to doing something like matching the colors of a logo, or seeing the color-changing effects of a chromalusion stripe. You can also request multiple so you can see how multiple colors will look together on your aircraft.

Improved Communication Flow
During the project, communication is key. A good shop will not only give you a single point of contact Customer Service Representative, but allow you access to talk directly with the technicians that do the work. This helps the customer to get detailed technical questions answered to help them make a more informed decision. It is also critical that your representatives respond to you in a timely manner. You are paying a lot of money and may have uncertainties. A good team will make sure that when your project is in house, you are the number one priority.

Summing it All Up
As aircraft professionals, we all understand that when going into a major paint and interior refurbishment you have many uncertainties. It is our job to try and not only address all of them up front, but to be proactive about any issues that may arise along the way. During the project, you need proper communication to make sure everything turns out better than you could even imagine.

Adam Doyle joined Elliott Aviation in 2000 as an interior technician after graduating from Wyoming Technical Institute. While at Elliott Aviation, Adam has earned many different promotions on the shop floor including Install Team Lead, Soft Goods Team Lead, Assistant Interior Shop Manager and Seat Shop Manager. Adam’s most recent promotion has been to Paint and Interior Sales Representative for Elliott Aviation. He uses his experience with various vendors, products and processes to educate our clients by providing direction and helping plan for future investment with realistic and accurate figures.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA). More information can be found at www.elliottaviation.com

Will You Pay More in the End?

By Adam Doyle – Paint and Interior Sales Manager
Elliott Aviation

Customers should shop around for the best deals, best customer service, and best quality of work. Sometimes when a customer has a particular need, they try to look for the specialty shop that does just that one thing instead of a shop were they execute more than one discipline. On certain products that may work, although when it comes to repainting an aircraft or getting an updated look to the interior, customers may see these people as experts since they focus solely on one discipline; the inverse, in fact, is true. Let’s take a look at some situations that would call for a one-stop shop compared to a single trade shop.

Elliott Paint PAINT

A quality paint job should last at least six years but can sometimes last longer. We recommend that customers look at paint as a maintenance event. Even if you don’t think you need new paint in six years, you should seriously consider it because paint is the first line of defense and you never know if there is corrosion underneath until you strip the paint completely. We have all heard stories about paint shops where it’s one guy and a paint gun on unfinished floors, not to mention zero controlled atmospheric conditions and absolutely no dedication to quality procedures. This example may be extreme, but there are qualities to look for in a paint shop while there are others you will want to avoid.

You want a facility that is adequately staffed to address an issue if something goes awry in the process. Items like flight controls and other critical elements to an aircraft, for example, can follow strict guidelines that may require maintenance manuals. If the shop where you take your aircraft does not have the manuals because they don’t generally deal with this type of aircraft, this could compromise the customer’s service. Paint that has been on an aircraft for years may be hiding some issues and, once you strip it, there is no going back and those issues must be dealt with.

When searching for a paint facility, look for one that will provide quality work and technicians who will pay attention to the details so that the aircraft is safe and will have a paint job that will withstand the years. Paying a little more now for a quality paint job that will last for many years, will, in the long run, save money because there wouldn’t be further downtime or paying for paint again in just a couple of years. Find a facility with a clean booth because even a speck of dusk landing in the paint can cause problems. As we stated, paint is the first line of defense and, when flying and changing altitudes, pressures and climate conditions at 500 miles an hour, the paint should hold up and not have any reason to crack.

If the aircraft is within a warranty period and the scope of work failed, understanding when and where the aircraft will be repaired along with verification of the warranty and knowing who exactly will be paying for it can be a cause of concern. Look for companies who will provide that information in the original contract. In some circumstances, a company that wants a satisfied customer who will return when work is needed will most likely make exceptions and see that the issues are resolved in a timely manner. If these paint and interior only shops do not have the adequate equipment and manpower or even the proper manuals for the specific airframe, it may potentially cost more downtime and more money out of pocket.

Quality takes time and a good facility is likely to be booked weeks in advance, which means it will be extremely difficult to take drop-ins. Planning ahead is the best option when needing quality work done.

INTERIOR

A quality shop understands it is more than just finishing and moving on to the next project. It is about knowing the product and its limitations. For example, how a part is prepped can make all the difference. Does the panel need to hold its flexibility or can we repair it to be more rigid? Is there a certain way to seam a panel or a seat to extend the wear and longevity of the panel or seat? That is precisely what a customer should look for in a shop: some place that is going to take the time to look at each section of the interior and determine how to make it last longer to increase the value they are putting into the aircraft.

When prep work is not done properly, the materials will not wear as well as they should. If you are unsure about the origin of the work or the quality a particular shop provides, beware of an aircraft advertised with "new interior." Some shops just re-dye seats and use pre-cut carpet kits that may not fit well and show loose surging/threads, possibly unfinished edges and those solutions won’t hold up as well. It will have the new carpet and new leather smell but time will tell how long either will stand. Some shops take shortcuts; for instance when seats are re-dyed and not done properly, they can become sticky and even pull layers of dye off when conditions are right.

While refurbishing an aircraft, a quality facility should have the solutions to every detail, no matter how small. For instance, if doing partial refurbishment, will all the hardware match? Will they make sure there is a full set of throw rugs? Will the shop go above and beyond to create an excellent customer experience? Even the smallest of things will go a long way.

It may seem complicated but we have said this time and time again when doing an interior refurbishment; even a small change to an aircraft interior can affect a lot more than you think. Find a shop that focuses on the smallest of details, one that takes the time to really look at an aircraft to figure out what is best for that specific aircraft and airframe.

Having a facility that can handle any issues that arise, mechanical or otherwise is critical when repainting or refurbishing an aircraft. A shop with one trade may not be capable to handling issues that arise that aren’t in their field. Also keep in mind a facility that can do everything will have adequate "specialists" already on hand for each specific situation. Quality work that will lasts over time will pay for itself in the long run.

Adam Doyle joined Elliott Aviation in 2000 as an interior technician after graduating from Wyoming Technical Institute. While at Elliott Aviation, Adam has earned many different promotions on the shop floor including Install Team Lead, Soft Goods Team Lead, Assistant Interior Shop Manager and Seat Shop Manager. Adam’s most recent promotion has been to Paint and Interior Sales Representative for Elliott Aviation. He uses his experience with various vendors, products and processes to educate our clients by providing direction and helping plan for future investment with realistic and accurate figures.

Your First Line of Defense-Your Paint Job

Preventative Maintenance Can Save You in the Long Run
Roy Block of Elliott Aviation, Paint Shop Manager
www.elliottaviation.com


The paint job of your aircraft should be viewed just as you view scheduled maintenance, not for any aesthetic reasons but because not properly maintaining your paint job can lead to corrosion. Corrosion on an aircraft can not only lead to very expensive repairs and long downtimes, it can create major safety risks by compromising the structural integrity of the aircraft if left untreated. For instance, we had a recent incident in which a customer brought in an aircraft for a simple phase inspection. The aircraft, built in 1996, had original factory paint. While it had some visible wear, a visual review of the aircraft only told part of the story. The inspection revealed that the aircraft had major corrosion to structural components that put the aircraft at a major safety risk if left untreated. If the paint job on the aircraft had been replaced at regular intervals, the cost of paint jobs would have been about half the cost of the structural repairs.

A typical paint job can protect an aircraft for about six years for jets and six to eight years for turboprops. The life of the paint job will be affected, however, by several factors like airframe time, hangar conditions, and elements like rain, ice, sand, and salty air. You should also consider factors like rapid changes in temperature and pressure. For instance, if you are taking off in Phoenix and the temperature on the ground is 110, within minutes of takeoff, your aircraft will experience temperatures well below zero and a size difference due to lower barometric pressure in the atmosphere. All of these stresses on the exterior of your aircraft contribute to the life of the paint job.

When getting your aircraft repainted, a proper prep process will ensure maximum adhesion. This all starts with a clean removal of the prior paint job. Removal of the old paint is always a dirty job but it is essential to having a clean surface to allow safe prep of the skin of the aircraft. On aluminum aircraft, aircraft should receive a chemical strip process to reduce the amount of sanding needed to the skin. Any remaining coating is then sanded to bare aluminum.

Once removal of the old coating is completed, Alodine, a conversion coating, is then applied which creates a tough, flexible coating with exceptional corrosion and temperature resistance. Alodine provides great corrosion protection and even protects when scratched. 2024 aluminum treated with Alodine can withstand direct salt spray for 150-600 hours before forming white corrosion while untreated 2024 can only withstand for less than 24 hours. After Alodine is applied, the aircraft is washed and checked for water breaks.

After Alodine is applied, a green Zinc Chromate primer is applied for an extra level of corrosion protection and maximum paint adhesion. Once the primer is completed, the aircraft receives a base coat, is then laid out for stripes and accent colors are added.

Primer and paint should be applied in a climate controlled, downdraft paint facility. This reduces overspray and dirt and allows for maximum paint adhesion for the highest level of protection you can have for your aircraft. You can prolong maximum life out of your aircraft paint job by taking a few key precautions, such as regularly hangaring your aircraft, keeping the exterior clean and free of any debris and touching up any paint imperfections you may encounter as soon as you notice them. Do not to let any signs of wear and tear go unnoticed as it could save you a lot of time and money in the long run. If your aircraft’s paint job is coming up on the 6 year mark, have your paint job inspected by a trusted paint facility.

Roy Block has 19 years of aircraft painting experience, starting with his father’s aircraft painting business in East Central Iowa where he worked for 10 years painting light aircraft. Roy will soon be celebrating his 9th year with Elliott Aviation where he began as a second-shift Paint Technician advancing to Team-Leader, Supervisor and now Paint Shop Manager.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

 

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