“When you paint an airplane, seven things happen, and six of them are bad.” So says Frank DeNisio, and he ought to know the potential pitfalls that can come between bare metal and a gleaming, durable paint job. DeNisio is operations manager of modifications for Dassault Falcon Jet Wilmington, the relatively new owner of the paint shop he has worked in for 27 years. Dassault Falcon Jet bought the Wilmington, Del.
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.