December 2009 Issue
Repainting Composites: Use an Expert Shop
Repainting a composite aircraft requires a bit more time and attention in stripping off the old stuff and getting the right kind of paint in the right places.
The repainting process is different for composites than for aluminum, at least in a couple of critical areas. All of those areas could be summed up in the words "manufacturerís specifications." That is, each manufacturer has its own doís and doníts when it comes to stripping off old paint and putting on new stuff. The short answer for how to get the job done right is to find a shop that has done that make of aircraft and has happy customers. Unfortunately, many competent paint shops havenít had to do a full repaint of a Cirrus or a Diamond yet. Is it worth trekking hundreds of miles to a shop that has a few under their belt, or working with a local gang with a good reputation knowing they will be learning on your aircraft? We think that depends on the attitude and other relevant experience of the shop. The big issue is in how they prep the aircraft before painting.
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