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DoubleDickel t1_j5w0uwy wrote

Equally important:

"AAF had achieved air superiority to such an extent that it was no longer necessary for its warplanes to “hide.”


Flying_Dustbin t1_j5wuwwd wrote

“If it’s silver, it’s American. If it’s camouflaged, it’s English. If it’s invisible, it’s German.”

Allegedly this was a joke amongst Wehrmacht troops in the latter half of the war.


Daniel_The_Thinker t1_j5xfioc wrote

Must be crazy a crazy thing to just have a branch be destroyed in a few years.


ZLUCremisi t1_j5xkf97 wrote

There a book from a German Ace who soared a crippled US bomber and how he flew till almost the end of the war. When it was literally impossible to fly any more he walked to the front lines and surrendered, luckily not being stopped by the SS.


tobiasprinz t1_j5xsltr wrote

Are you referring to Hans Stiegler and the crew of B-17, Ye Olde Pub?

One of those few heart-warming war stories.

I did not know how he surrendered. Is that detail from Makos, Adam; Alexander, Larry (2012). A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II ?


NetDork t1_j5wuet1 wrote

The really clear indicator was when they went "Silver Plate" and didn't even install the defensive gun turrets anymore.


ash_274 t1_j5x3d7a wrote

That was specifically for the atomic-bomb carrying planes (and the Doolittle Raid B-25s) that had to shave all possible weight in order to accomplish their missions.

Silverplate B-29s also had redesigned bomb bays and wing mounting in order to accommodate the physical size of the bombs


Doc_Lazy t1_j5xx55u wrote

Doolittle's range extensions were something to behold. Highly recommend the book 'Target Tokyo' by James M. Scott for a good read up on the requirements, training and undertaking of that raid.


paiute t1_j5ywxh3 wrote

That's the one Ben Affleck led?


OtisTetraxReigns t1_j5zpo6o wrote

Doolittle was played by Alec Baldwin in that dreadful movie. Doolittle personally lead the raid. Although Affleck’s character does go on the mission, iirc.


paiute t1_j5zy0mu wrote

You mean the time the Japanese Navy attacked an American love triangle? The time when Ben Affleck went seamlessly from flying single engine fighters to taking a B25 off a carrier deck?

BTW, I was in Columbia South Carolina many years ago and needed to rent a car. Drove to a local small airport to get a van and spotted a monument which read that the Doolittle raiders had trained there.


indr4neel t1_j5yovsz wrote

Silverplate does refer to the bomb version, but starting with the B-29B all defensive weapons were removed except for the tail turret.


UnknownQTY t1_j683ntn wrote

B-29s also flew so high interceptor aircraft couldn’t reach them anyway.


indr4neel t1_j6k40re wrote

Mm, technically. Interceptor aircraft couldn't reach them because there weren't any interceptor aircraft by late war. The 1941 A6M2b Type 0 Model 21 (the most produced variant) actually had a higher service ceiling than the (admittedly not model-specific) stats Wikipedia gives for the B-29, at 33,000 vs 30,000 feet. "So high interceptors can't reach them" has historically been a pretty washed defense mechanism outside of stuff that's high and fast like the Blackbird.


joethedad t1_j5ylo6w wrote

This is the real reason, the correct one.


PatmygroinB OP t1_j5vzyga wrote

I saw a comment that said the Nazis knew the war was over when American planes started flying unpainted, because planes were being made faster than paint.

The truth is; it was intentional, and it made them faster and lighter, giving the unpainted planes an all around advantage


DarkNinjaPenguin t1_j5wapjy wrote

And also, at that point they weren't really bombing allied airfields any more, so the camouflage paint schemes to make aircraft harder to spot on the ground were unnecessary.


lisiate t1_j5wvfrc wrote

I imagine seeing the Americans air-dropping pianos to keep their troops entertained would have been quite the morale killer as well.


BananaLee t1_j5xb6z2 wrote

On the other front, the navy had a barge whose job was just making ice cream for the troops


seakingsoyuz t1_j5yzohx wrote

reads article,

Oh, they had parachutes attached. That’s much less fun.


UnassumingAnt t1_j5zahlc wrote

Americans asserting dominance by just dropping pianos onto German troops could have ended the war even sooner.


schmyle85 t1_j60o1at wrote

Piano gets dropped on a German officer, he crawls out from under it with a big bump on his head and piano keys for teeth


seakingsoyuz t1_j5zgcdj wrote

There’s an RAF and RCAF tradition of burning pianos at social functions, so I was actually willing to believe that it was a destructive air-dropping.


PatmygroinB OP t1_j5yq9oo wrote

Or the ice cream Barges, or the candy and smokes in the field kit


pass_nthru t1_j626b9r wrote

the officers get lucky strikes, the enlisted have to make do with raleigh’s


Flying_Dustbin t1_j5wvsik wrote

Oddly enough there at least one German pilot, Kurt Gabler, who went with the natural metal finish on his Bf-109G-6 in an effort to intercept De Havilland Mosquitos.


RedSonGamble t1_j5w7fsc wrote

Yeah but the flames painted on them made them go faster so it’s a trade off. Plus the sexy lady’s painted on them made the men’s hearts and penis fight for freedom harder. Go get ‘em boys!


Sturmundsterne t1_j5wg6gj wrote

I have it on good authority that red ones go fasta.


pass_nthru t1_j5x56aw wrote

lots of dakka but could use more dakka


SteelyDan1968 t1_j5xik93 wrote

>lots of dakka but could use more dakka

You can never over do it on the dakka.


patco81 t1_j5w46md wrote

Typical paint job on a 747 weighs about 2,000 pounds, or so I have been told. So, if paints weighs 8 pounds to the gallon, that would work out to 250 gallons, which is not hard to believe.

Please feel free to correct me with facts.

But remember, Earl Scheib would have painted it for $99.00!


mlw72z t1_j5x59hi wrote

Fun fact: early 747s added over 3,000 pounds of depleted uranium as counterweight on the rear control surfaces.


SamGropler t1_j5xctlq wrote

Paint has a density of about 1.3g/cm³.


patco81 t1_j5xdh7n wrote

Hold on while I grab my slide rule and convert that.


SamGropler t1_j5xdoco wrote

Well, if you're working on a pint of water weighing a pound, a pint of paint weighs 1.3 pounds. This isn't exactly rocket surgery.


be4u4get t1_j5xlf65 wrote

How are we supposed to paint a plane with water. Your’e not pulling a fast one on me


TheUmgawa t1_j5xm90c wrote

Ain’t you ever heard of watercolors? I got my Prang set around here somewhere, I’ll show ya.


be4u4get t1_j5xmck2 wrote

Shoot, y’all convinced me. I’ll take 200 gallons of water to paint my plane


patco81 t1_j5xehon wrote

I'm not gonna let that seven years i spent in high school go to waste.


notquiteaffable t1_j5ze4tb wrote

Yes it’s not rocket surgery but I’m still curious. And curiosity killed the cat and ate it too.


patco81 t1_j60mqxk wrote

But if I work on a pint of beer BEFORE I paint the plane, how much will it weigh then?


Adam-West t1_j5y8gsh wrote

Would it have been lead paint in WW2? Im no paintologist but I’d assume that that’s even heavier?


Factotumm t1_j5xqxuz wrote

Legendary Alaskan bush pilot Don Sheldon ordered all his planes unpainted for the same reason. He needed every pound of lift capacity he could get for those high altitude glacier landings and the weight of the paint was substantial (forget the exact figure).


flaminate_strutching t1_j5yh6g4 wrote

I learned from QI that one of the reasons most planes are light in color is that the extra pigment in the paint to make them dark would be a significant amount of weight.


Blueshirt38 t1_j5zmy8c wrote

The Allowable Cabin Load on a 747-400F is 249,100 lb, and the max gross takeoff weight of 836,000 lb, whereas the plane weighs about 350,000 lb empty. 2,000lb is essentially a negligible load when it is spread almost completely evenly across the entire aircraft.

It would be like being worried about the weight of having leather seats as opposed to fabric seats in your car.


VeryJoyfulHeart59 t1_j6101r3 wrote

There's a whole bit in the article about how much the paint weighed.

P.S. I feel old... when I was growing up, Earl Scheib did it for $39.95.


patco81 t1_j610k7x wrote

Me too, but remember:

We is legends.


VeryJoyfulHeart59 t1_j6125s2 wrote

I wish I felt more that way.

Much of the time I feel like the world believes I'm irrelevant.


patco81 t1_j613ezh wrote

The world can believe what the world wants to believe.

WE know the truth.


Zerstoror t1_j5w9smn wrote

Dude....paint weights 8 lbs to the gallon wet. You do know that once it dries most of the carrying agent, water in the case of latex paint, is no longer part of the weight? Like yea on a full size plane it will add up. But 2000 lbs, please now.


PeachSnappleOhYeah t1_j5wk1bn wrote

wow. they... don't use latex wall paint on airplanes.

and... the paint they actually do use, is enamels and epoxies... which are heavier per gallon.

this says it can require up to 1100kg of paint (i'll let you convert it)


hansn t1_j5wuw5j wrote

> wow. they... don't use latex wall paint on airplanes.

Too good for Spirit Airlines are you?


TheUmgawa t1_j5xmcjk wrote

Pretty sure they’re huffing the paint on Spirit.


Eschotaeus t1_j5x51wq wrote

That’s 2,425 freedom units. No wonder the other guy disappeared lol.


Capepoints t1_j5wnjf8 wrote

Did a little searching, some conflicting answers but the standard appears to be 1200lbs/500ish Kilos once dry on a fully painted plane (747).

“Paint adds between 600-1,200 lbs (273-544 kg) of weight to an aircraft”



TheUmgawa t1_j5xmkap wrote

Painting technology has changed substantially in just the past forty years, let alone the past eighty. The thickness of your car’s entire paint job is thinner than a single coat of paint from the 1970s.


merrittj3 t1_j5w0t2e wrote

Lol...I saw more cargo hold and wondered how 1/64th of an inch of paint gave it more by a cubic foot...

more like more weight for cargo...what an idiot I am


Markavian t1_j5w3hdm wrote

Subtractively further: think of all the time and fuel saved by not moving paint around, or having to make the paint in the first place. The war machine can become unnervingly efficient when it needs to.


throwawayforj0b t1_j5wa5wr wrote

This is exactly why American Airlines planes are mostly unpainted.


OneSidedDice t1_j5wo43i wrote

That was the idea. From what I understand, the airline discovered that they spent about the same amount of money keeping the planes polished and shiny as they would have spent on painting them and on the additional fuel that would have required.


NetDork t1_j5wu29o wrote

They had to change now that more and more planes have large composite components.


FeistyAgency9994 t1_j5wcnib wrote

So they can drop more bombs?


CheeseSandwich t1_j5wghhv wrote

Well, luggage these days.


merrittj3 t1_j5w5w10 wrote

Total sense there. Can't believe my default logic.


SigelBandito t1_j5wgyuk wrote

Subtractively further?


Markavian t1_j5xlov6 wrote

I thought I'd try "Subtractively..." as a grammatical play on the context of reduction and weight savings, instead of my usual opening of "Additionally..."


Pretend_Range4129 t1_j5w4cfo wrote

Go to Home Depot, pickup a 5 gallon can of paint. What would you rather have on your plane during war, that paint or a bomb?


TheUmgawa t1_j5xmzcb wrote

An accurate enough bombardier could wreck someone’s day with either one.


BillTowne t1_j5wmycr wrote

They stopped painting shuttle booster rockets for the same reason.


ash_274 t1_j5x3n2s wrote

The booster or the fuel tank? I know the fuel tanks stopped being painted white for the weight savings


hellobrooklyn t1_j5x7bzz wrote

It was the external tank. They actually painted them to protect that reddish spray insulation from UV until they realized it wasn’t needed. Saved 600lbs that directly translated to more payload. Further removal of unnecessary reinforcements as well as design refinements and material changes resulted in a whopping 18,000lb reduction from the original tank design! 77k—>66k—>58k I only knew about the paint and that later tanks were lighter, but your comment led me down a fun rabbit hole, so thank you!


WACK-A-n00b t1_j5xgxqy wrote

And only lost one shuttle to the foam falling off.

Not bad!


hellobrooklyn t1_j5z5rgf wrote

Foam was shed from the first two flights and every flight thereafter. It’s possible paint could’ve helped keep the big chunks from separating, but it’s also possible even larger chunks could’ve come off. What’s certain is that shedding debris near fragile tiles with zero redundancy was a terrible combo and a numbers game that Columbia’s crew eventually lost, so your point is definitely valid..


BillTowne t1_j607zpr wrote

The large external fuel tanks. You are correct that I used the wrong term.


atomicsnarl t1_j5x5ord wrote

The comment about Pink British Recon aircraft was due the recon mission parameters. Those were flown near or just after sunset, and the pink was very hard to see against the western setting sun and twilight glow, as the German aircraft were flying from the East to inetrcept them. At that latitude (about 50 North), twilight could last more than and hour, so you've got a huge backdrop of orangish sky to hide against.


FiercelyApatheticLad t1_j5xco69 wrote

Mercedes supposedly did the same at a 1934 Grand Prix and scraped their paint to gain weight. That's how silver became their signature color in motorsports.


Vakama905 t1_j5xhini wrote

I mean, you see it in F1 still. At the beginning of the 2022 season, several of the teams were running with stripped-down liveries because they were overweight.


MagicHDx t1_j60ug3s wrote

Williams did that, hence why their car was so much carbon showing by the end lol


flyinguaround t1_j5wzlir wrote

A Boeing 737-800 has about 700lbs of paint on it. For an airline, brand is important but that much extra fuel or cargo would be lucrative, also adding in the time, effort and cost of painting every 7 or so years.


pinktacoliquor t1_j5xi79f wrote

Lead based paint was used back then, and probably other metals were present in the paint too. I would guess closer 10 pounds per gallon.


slater_just_slater t1_j5yj2yf wrote

There was no real need to paint high-altitude planes, also given they were designed to have relatively short lifespans, corrosion wasn't a concern. Bare aluminum still can corrode.


Critical_Passenger44 t1_j5wytzx wrote

I learned about this at the new england air museum in CT. Highly recommend, even if you just go to listen to the stories from the volunteers. I went and got lucky to have a personal tour with one of the veterans there. I believe he was in his late 80s but heay have been in his 90s. So many wonderful stories.


frntwe t1_j5w4cae wrote

How much does a gallon of paint really weigh after it dries? Not sure the weight savings is that great. I see the time and expense savings.


DFWPunk t1_j5w6ndb wrote

About 4 pounds. Given the amount of paint for a whole plane, and the fact they engineer to reduce ounces, it makes perfect sense.


frntwe t1_j5wk7ur wrote

I remember this debate when I was still active duty and went to a C-5 conference. I wish I remembered the numbers


DFWPunk t1_j5wrkdj wrote

Even a small plane is around 70 gallons. That's 280 pounds dried. It's a substantial weight.


PeachSnappleOhYeah t1_j5wnrd4 wrote

the styrene content (part that dries) in epoxies varies but at most is like usually like 40%. that's for resin epoxies, not epoxy paints. i think there's less drying agent in paints?

either way, if you figure on 10-16lbs for enamels and epoxies wet... i would make an educated guess that 2/3 of the weight remains after its dry. And oddly-- darker colors can be up to 25% heavier than white (extra pigment).

i would guess a warplane has a couple hundred pounds of paint on it, at least.


MrPilgrim t1_j5xzn2d wrote

Somewhat related, I understand this is why they stopped paining the main fuel tank on the Space Shuttle - used to be painted white then later was left as orange


photoguy423 t1_j5x9bvp wrote

Well, in a war zone I don’t think corrosion would be as big a worry as it is in peace time.


Vix_Cepblenull t1_j5yivoy wrote

I wonder if they had any significant issues with corrosion since paint is often the first line to prevent rust.


Cuntplainer t1_j5z2kqv wrote

People don't realize how much paint actually weighs...

To paint a typical 787 Dreamliner, you need 1000 pounds of paint. That's like 6 extra passengers with small luggage.


cantorofleng t1_j5z3kvo wrote

"Fancy paintjobs give no tactical advantage whatsoever."


RTwhyNot t1_j5zoejy wrote

No idea why American Airlines started painting their airplanes.


DarthArtero t1_j5zswyi wrote

Never realized how much weight paint adds to something until I read this


Fuzzlord67 t1_j610297 wrote

B-17’s and B-24’s were still painted as far as I know.


MeltingUpwards t1_j5wcv67 wrote

Lol, the weight of the paint not gonna make a difference.