There are those unsung workers whose skills are underrated and whose work may go unappreciated, or at best is taken for granted. So it is with those who paint business airplanes. It’s a sometimes nasty, often physically demanding, always labor-intensive job that requires a knowledge of chemistry and the soul of an artist.
Exterior paint has always been a statement. In ancient times, sailors painted eyes on the bows of ships so they might find their way easily. Even today, it is a custom Chinese boat builders still follow. During World War II, “nose art” was common on military aircraft. Perhaps the best known was the Memphis Belle, a B-17 that bore the name and a scantily clad image of the belle herself.
There is no airplane so beautiful that a good paint job won’t help it look even better, maybe a lot better. So says Jim Burress, manager of Landmark Aviation’s paint department in Springfield, Ill., and veteran of more than 28 years in the business.