Paint Scheme Ideas

Of course, the proper paint scheme is the most important aspect of any airplane build, so I decided to start collecting ideas ahead of time so it won't prevent me from starting my flight testing on schedule.  Pardon me while a remove my tongue from my cheek, of course the paint is just about the least important thing, but having a vision in my head of what I'm striving for helps motivate me, and since I didn't have the plans in front of me but I DID have a vision of what I wanted, I figured I could spend a little time in a paint program.

Like the old recipe for an omelet begins, "first, steal some eggs."  In this case, eggs are a pair of profile drawings of the Cozy from Rick Maddy's website.  Specifically, I cribbed this antenna diagram and modified it for my purposes.  I removed the antenna icons, extended the strakes to represent the Cozy Girrrls strakes mod I intend, then made a version that shows the bottom.  At some point, I accidentally asked Rick for permission to use his art.

One thing before I continue, there's an old adage about composite airplanes.  Uncle Burt has essentially said "you can have a fiberglass airplane in any color you want, as long as it's white."  There's a very important reason for this: Heat.  The darker the color, the more energy a structure absorbs.  Even on a nice breezy day, the surface temperature of something black could be climbing into the mid 160s or higher.  For cooking, this would be great.  But when your airplane is essentially a pile of cloth held together by a block of glue, this can spell trouble.  I've heard it anecdotally stated that Burt Rutan has said he will not fly in a LongEZ that's any color other than white.  I can't cite a reference, but it sure sounds good.

Note: Click here to view a color chart showing the temperatures various colors can bring the material upon which they are applied.

Well, time has passed, and the directive seems to have been modified a little bit.  First, it was "any surface that'll be exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time".  Then, it became "any structural surface".  Now, like the nose of a stalling Cozy, it seems to bob up and down between variations of the last two.  There are some planes out there with a little color starting to show.  Some of it is probably due to improvements in epoxy, some of it is careful application of decoration (eg, no black planes), and some of it might just be people saying "screw it".  Columbia is starting to release non-white composite aircraft, so there's obviously been a change in the state of the art.  Now, if those improvements trickle out to homebuilders, color options should start to improve.

The first scheme I've fixated on for my airplane should, I hope, be conservative enough that it won't subject my epoxy to baking but at the same time looks a little more exciting than the standard all white.  For your consideration:

Basic concept

Since the Cozy and other canard planes already remind us of spacecraft, I figured "why not follow the concept through to the logical conclusion?"  Then I figured "hey, I think I'll have Mexican food today."  Afterwards, I continued to develop the idea until I had something like this:

With a light grey color used to represent the heatshields and the fact that (for the most part) is limited to areas out of direct sunlight, it should be able to keep out of trouble with regards to heating.  The irony of having to worry about representative heat tiles overheating on a normal day is not lost on me.  The US flags would, of course, be placed appropriately as depicted, and my tail number (Here's hoping that November 8008 Sierra is available) would be below the flag on the right wing.  I might be persuaded to stencil a couple of tasteful "This is not a step" signs too, if they look right.

As you can see, I continue it along the bottom, keeping it to the main body.  The bottom of the cowl would probably be a shade darker, which should be fine as it's non-structural and IS on the bottom after all.

So far, just an idea I'm pursuing.  In the years between now and first flight, I'm sure I'll think of other schemes that are even better, but for now, the aircraft noises I make when I don't think anyone's watching might sound a little bit like a rocket.

Cozy Page - Ben Hallert - ben@vipmail.com - Progress: 4 hours - 0% of estimated 2700 hours construction. - Last updated 4/23/06
All text and original photographs copyright Ben Hallert except where otherwise noted.  Cozy Mk IV is a registered design of Aircraft Spruce and the author makes no claim otherwise.