Why Are Airplanes Usually White?
Commercial planes are generally white because of these reasons: white color provides a thermal advantage, it helps in easier inspection of cracks and dents on the fuselage and is also cost-effective. White planes also tend to have a higher resale value than colored ones.
While gazing at an airplane passing thousands of feet overhead, or when you are just about to board a flight at the airport, have you ever noticed that the vast majority of airplanes are white? Sure, some have stripes, decorations, and names in different colors, but the base color behind those add-ons is almost always white. It seems a bit strange, but is there a real reason for it?
The color white is a terrific reflector of sunlight, and reflects almost all the light that falls on it, unlike other colors, which absorb some of the light.
f you paint your airplane in a color other than white, it will absorb sunlight and heat up the body of the airplane, which is something you want to avoid. White, on the other hand, reflects that sunlight and avoids the gradual build-up of heat on the plane. This is a good thing, not only when the airplane is in flight, but also when it’s parked on the runway, because it takes less time to cool down down after sitting on the ground in a hot, sunny environment. In fact, some planes actually ‘need’ to have a coating of white paint in order to guarantee a structurally sound flying machine.
Easier inspection of cracks and dents on the fuselage
Airplanes are regularly inspected for cracks, dents, and any other form of surface damage (for obvious safety reasons). Nothing works better than white when it comes to spotting a crack on the surface, as the crack is almost always darker than white.
Additionally, white also accentuates corrosion marks and oil leak spots (as they leave dark-colored trail). Plus, a white plane is easier to spot (visually) in the event of a crash or any other mishap, especially at night, or in a massive body of water.
Less ‘Scientific’ Factors
Not every reason behind the this obsession with white planes is ‘scientific’, so to speak. There are a few other reasons too, which can’t be ignored.