ArtCraft Paint Answers Your Airplane Painting FAQs

Photo of an airplane with text over top that says, "Airplane Painting Frequently Asked Questions"










With a 25-year history in the aviation industry, ArtCraft Paint has years of experience in painting airplanes. We’d like to peel back the paint, share that experience with you, and give you an inside look at the behind-the-scenes process of painting an airplane.

Explore answers to frequently asked questions about our aircraft painting services.

1. Why Are Airplanes Painted?

Planes, often made of metals like aluminum, titanium, steel, and composites, use paint to shield against salts, oxidation, and fuel spills. ArtCraft Paint regularly repaints planes to tackle and prevent corrosion caused by moisture seeping into cracks and chips.

2. How Often Should an Aircraft Be Repainted?

An aircraft should be repainted every seven to 10 years to fix any cracks or chips developed. To help keep your aircraft in the air, check out these three aircraft paint job maintenance tips!

3. What Type of Paint Is Used on Aircraft?

At ArtCraft, we use a variety of paints developed specifically for aviation use. The paints include polyurethane, enamel, zinc chromate, and water bases. 

While body and paint work in aircraft is similar to the automotive industry, automotive paint is not used on aircraft due to the drastic changes airplanes endure in flight. Airplane paint is very durable and lasts a lot longer than automotive paint.

4. Can I Legally Paint My Own Aircraft?

There are no regulations against DIY airplane paint jobs, but your plane does need to meet the FAA’s airworthiness regulations

Aircraft painting is a highly skilled process. It takes practice and expertise to avoid dripping and streaked paint. There’s also bodywork and prep work to address dents and corrosion before primer is applied.

5. What Is All Included in Your Incoming Inspection?

When your aircraft arrives at ArtCraft, our team completes a thorough inspection. This allows us to document the current condition of your plane and identify any concerns to address before we paint your plane. We also complete a post-stripping inspection to identify any necessary fiberglass repairs and bodywork. 

Our estimates include 10 hours of bodywork to cover concerns we find in our inspections. We itemize our recommended repairs, so you have a clear picture of what you are paying for and can make an informed decision.

6. Why Does My Quote Change?

Our airplane painting estimates include 10 hours of bodywork and includes a standard design. If you decide to go with a custom paint scheme, you will see a design upcharge on your quote. 

In addition, if the incoming or post-stripping inspections identify additional body work or corrosion that needs to be addressed, you will see a higher cost than originally estimated.

7. How Long Do You Need to Keep the Plane?

Typically, it is at least three full weeks from the time your plane arrives to the time you fly it out of the Santa Maria Airport with a fresh paint job. Extensive corrosion, delays in selecting a paint scheme, and other factors can delay your airplane painting timeline.

8. What’s the Fastest Turnaround You Offer?

The short answer is 21 days. However, the longer answer is that it depends on how much bodywork needs to be done and a variety of other factors.

9. How Do You Fully Treat All Corrosion?

We wash your aircraft with Akzo Nobel Aerospace’s Metaflex. We also use Metaflex to wash all aluminum components.

A key difference in the way ArtCraft strips your paint includes covering all seams to prevent the chemical stripper from going into the seams of your plane. This helps prevent future corrosion and is a step many airplane painting shops have eliminated from their processes to save time. 

In addition, we also prime with anti-corrosive paint to help prevent corrosion and extend the life of your airplane paint job.

10. How Do You Extend Paint Life?

Adding ceramic coating after your airplane is painted helps to make your aircraft shine. This shiny coating acts as a barrier, providing protection from sun damage, moisture, pollution, and extreme temperatures.

11. Do You Remove All Flight Controls?

Yes, all flight controls are removed as part of our painting and stripping process. Once your paint is finished, we balance your flight controls and re-install them on your plane.

12. Can I Get My Plane Painted and the Interior Refurbished at the Same Shop?

Yes! ArtCraft Paint is a full-service aircraft painting and interior shop. We offer a variety of interior refurbishment services, such as upholstery, interior plane painting, carpeting, and window replacements.

Ready to Invest in Airplane Painting?

ArtCraft has been painting aircraft for over 25 years. Check out some of our previous airplane paint jobs in our portfolio, or reach out for a quote today.

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