Paint 'em white

October 1988

We are alarmed by the trend to paint composite aircraft dark colors. An orange or dark blue or dark red surface, can easily reach a temperature of 190 degrees on a warm sunny day with no wind. We saw at Oshkosh 1988, a deep orange Velocity and a dark red Lancair, parked, unprotected in the hot sun. We would not have flown in either of these aircraft for any reason.

All RAF airplanes use room temperature cured epoxy in their construction and these room temperature epoxies have a heat distortion point of only about 150 to 160 degrees F. All of the composite aircraft that we are aware of in the USA, at least, also are put together using room temperature curing epoxies or vinyl esters. Don't be lulled into a sense of false security by the examples of those who must not have considered the possible consequences of their actions. Paint your airplanes white.

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