The Aviation Coatings business of PPG Industries has recently created a custom batch of special-effect coatings for Virgin Atlantic. This coating has outstanding reflective properties. It will help Virgin Atlantic’s design and engineering teams achieve a bright, vibrant, and dynamic new fuselage paint solution.
The delivery of the newly painted Virgin Atlantic’s first Airbus A330 aircraft has been successfully completed. The aircraft was sprayed with DESOTHANE® topcoat containing PPG Aviation ANDARO® Special Effects pigment. It is PPG’s special paint that gives the tail and engine sections of Virgin Atlantic planes their vibrant red exterior. And painted the fuselage with the elegant fuchsia “Virgin Atlantic” lettering. The body is coated with Desothane® silver mica finish for an excellent shine.
Alex Reid, customer manager of PPG’s Application Support Center, explains that while traditional mica aircraft coatings have a reflectivity of about 30 percent, paint products containing Andaro pigments can reflect 90 percent of visible light.
“Virgin Atlantic is a big fan of innovative technology.” Reid said, “The use of Andaro® pigments in aviation painting is a new venture, so we worked with Virgin’s engineering team to drive the project through to approval and ultimately the application of PPG’s product on Virgin’s aircraft. In addition, we worked closely with their design team to bring the new corporate identity of Virgin Atlantic to life with the vibrant color palette unique to Andaro® pigments.”
Earlier, the Virgin Atlantic design team approached PPG and explained the color effect they wanted to convey, and Reid and the PPG Aerospace Coatings team consulted with color experts from PPG’s Automotive OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Coatings Division, who adapted the Andaro® pigment technology to meet the needs of the aerospace coating application.
Virgin Atlantic provided strong support throughout the project. “They chose PPG’s products and were willing to fully support them throughout the process,” Reid said.
Peter Wind, Technical Manager for Sealants and Coatings at PPG UK, was responsible for the testing of this project to ensure the spray stability of Andaro® pigments used for the exterior painting of the aircraft. He also represented PPG at the delivery of the Airbus A330 aircraft in Toulouse, France, and witnessed the aircraft’s maiden flight to London Heathrow Airport.
Wind recalls. “We were able to view the new aircraft with Steve Ridgway, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, and he was very pleased with the bright hues that the PPG paint showed.”
All new aircraft delivered to Virgin Atlantic in the future will be painted with Desothane® topcoats containing Andaro® pigments. These products have also been used in the repainting program for Virgin Atlantic’s existing aircraft.
PPG Aerospace Materials is a business unit of PPG Industries, Inc. that provides aerospace products and services, PPG Aerospace Materials – PRC-DeSoto is the world’s leading manufacturer of aerospace coatings, sealants, packaging and application systems, and PPG Aerospace Glass is the world’s largest supplier of aircraft windshields, windows, and canopies.