PPG Industries’ aerospace coatings group created custom paint colors for British Airways’ dove livery, which is being used on nine Airbus A319 aircraft to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
PPG Aerospace coatings specialists worked with livery artist Pascal Anson to supply Desothane HS/CA 8000 series topcoats in gold, light grey and white. A two-step gold mica created outlines of feathers, which were accented in white and painted over a light grey fuselage to represent the body and wings of the dove. Gold on the cockpit created the dove’s beak, and gold on the tail created the British Airways Chatham Dockyard Union flag design. Desothane HS/CA 8000/B900A clear topcoat provided a final protective coating.
“All the colors used for the aircraft were bespoke,” said Alex Reid, PPG Aerospace account manager at the North Europe application support center based at the PPG Shildon plant in Northern England.
Anson visited the PPG Shildon coatings manufacturing plant to select colors. “He wanted to design his own gold,” Reid said. “The plane had to be light grey to make it look like a dove, so together we designed a grey and a special gold mica with a unique base color to achieve the desired effect.”
British Airways made the paint masks. “They have their own graphics shop, so everything was produced in-house,” Reid said. “There was only one drawing of how to paint the plane.”
As British Airways uses PPG’s selectively strippable coatings system on its Airbus fleet, Reid added, the repainting process was simplified. With this system, the topcoat and intermediate coat are designed to be easily removed, and the primer is left intact. The aircraft is washed, and the intermediate coat and topcoat are reapplied. The system typically saves about a day repainting this type of aircraft.
British Airways is the biggest user of PPG’s selectively strippable coatings system for Airbus aircraft, Reid said.
The topcoats for the gold mica were produced at the PPG Aerospace plant at Gonfreville, France, to British Airways’ specification, while the grey and white topcoats were mixed at Shildon.
The first airplane was unveiled live on British television in April.