Let the painting begin!


OK, I have been reading all your comments (thanks so much for following along, hope you like it), and while I can’t guarantee that any one of you will win “your” airplane, I can say this: Elvis–er, the Crossover Classic–has left the building. The Air Mod building that is. The interior has been completed, and photos and more coverage of this excellent effort will soon be posted–and published in AOPA Pilot.

A couple of items need to be mentioned. Everyone dwells on the major components of an interior overhaul, but don’t forget the detail items that may not be immediately apparent. For example, beat-up, faded plastic parts. Would yellowed plastic panels on the doors or A-, B-, and C-pillars show up against the backdrop of a brand-new leather interior? You bet they would! Like a sore thumb! That’s why anyone considering an interior renovation should yank out the old plastic (and there are a LOT of interior plastic parts) and replace it with new components.

Stripped and mummified

Stripped and mummified

Once more, we’ve chosen to go with Vantage Plane Plastics’ replacement plastic. Vantage, at www.planeplastics.com, makes interior plastic kits for a wide range of GA airplanes. It’s their specialty. We’ve used Vantage’s plastic parts in our 2004 Twin Comanche “Win-A-Twin” sweepstakes airplane, as well as our 2006 Cherokee Six “Win A Six in ’06″ sweeps project airplane.

Another neat detail-that’s-a-big deal is Saircorp’s rudder pedal extensions. These fit over the stock rudder pedals and give you more rudder authority–especially when your legs are on the short side and you’re facing a sporty crosswind landing. You can check them out at www.saircorp.com.

All the hard work is done

All the hard work is done

And now, in breaking news, I can report that the airplane is now at Boss Aircraft Refinishers at Salibury, North Carolina’s Rowan County Airport–and its nasty old paint job has been stripped off! I am personally elated. Any of you who have seen the plane in person can testify to the deteriorated condition of the original paint job. Well, it’s gone.

Bill Lucey, head of Boss Aircraft Refinishers, said that the stripping did pose some challenges. The old lacquer-based paint doesn’t exactly slough off like newer polyurethane paints. “With polyurethane, the day after you hit the plane with the stripping agent you can hear the paint coming off,” he said. “It’s like ‘splat, splat, splat’–you can hear it from the next room.”

Down to the bare frame

Down to the bare frame

But with lacquer, it’s a different story. Lacquer does slide off a little bit, Lucey says. But mainly it turns into a goo that resembles “burnt cheese.”  (I’m still trying to imagine what that looks like). Anyway, the burnt cheese needs to be hit repeatedly with stipper, blown off with a high-pressure sprayer, scrubbed with Scotchbrite, and washed and rewashed in order to coax all that goo off the airplane.

Now, the red goo is no more. In its place is a bare, all-aluminum exterior. And while the ship is far from its final coat of paint, its appearance is greatly improved. It sure looks a whae of a lot better than before!

Next up: Application of the white base coat, the masking of the paint scheme, the application of the paint scheme, and the clearcoat finish. Stay tuned!

13 Responses to “Let the painting begin!”

  1. Plan on replacing the wheel bearings. It seems that no matter how carefully the wheels get wrapped up during the strip process, especially the extended one for getting off lacquer, gunk will still get into the bearings. I had that happen when I had my Cardinal repainted last winter. I have the pictures of the strip work, wheels all covered up, and I still had to replace the bearings at the annual in March.

  2. Clay Story says:

    I assume you pre-washed the airplane prior to the application of the stripper.

    Which paint stripper was used?

    Any recommendations as to which brands and types of stripper work best?

    What are your feelings about soda blasting?

    Please explain the taping procedures and materials used for protecting the windows.
    Strippers and many paint solvents will harm plexiglass very quickly.

    As for PPE (personal protective equipment). Protecting the skin from the stripper is very important. Which gloves are used in your shop? 10 or 12 years ago, I removed repainted a Cessna 205. I tried a variety of gloves and none lasted very long. The methylene chloride in the stripper will eventually permeate through the gloves. At the first indication of permeation, the gloves were tossed and put on a new pair. Surely, better gloves have been developed in the past ten years.

  3. Doug Rodrigues says:

    The paint shop makes stripping a plane look easy, but it can turn out to be nightmare too. Every little bit of residue around each rivit head needs to be cleaned off. Count the rivets on a plane. It’s also a messy and back breaking job that the average guy (or girl) wouldn’t want to do.

  4. Howard Hollinger says:

    So, once again, we have a classic airplane painted with “todays” scribbles and swirls.
    What a shame.
    Like putting a “suade” paint job on a classic car.
    Or worse.
    This crap will look as dated ten years from now as the swept back eyes on a Hundai.
    If it is a classic, leave it a classic.
    Please don’t paint it in “trendy” styles.
    PLEASE!
    Respect the airframe, and let the “lines” of the airplane show through.
    Hardtimes Earl.

    • Wes says:

      I thought it looked pretty cool.

    • While I wouldn’t have used quite the same language, I understand the sentiment. When repainting my Cardinal, I kept the same design and just changed colors. The result was just short of spectactular. The airplane has been turning heads since it got out of the paint shop.S

    • Dave H says:

      I hear ya brother, A friend of mine had his Comanche 260 repainted a couple years ago with the original scheme and it is not only beautiful it just looks right !

      I cannot tell you how many “Ghost flames ” I have put on bikes over the last ten years in my shop and now I am starting to have some of the same people paying me again to get rid of them …

  5. Mark Strickland says:

    I agree with Howard. The new paint design is going to make this plane look cheap and ugly. If I win this plane it will be repainted unless AOPA wants to take our word for it and scap the paint scheme and start from scratch. I personally would like to see a classic look with Classic colors that work with the already installed interior. Please take another vote and include other than retro looking paint schemes. PLEASE, you will be doing AOPA and everyone else a huge favor to reconsider. Mark

  6. Curtis Chapline says:

    I agree with the comments concerning the need to re-evaluate the decision to use the paint design that was chosen for the Crossover Classic. It’s not a good paint scheme. I’m sure it will be beautifully and professionally applied but it will still be an ugly paint scheme. Four designs were offered from which to choose and none of the four were well designed. Considering those four options, I think it would be wise to apply a base white coat to he airplane and let the aircraft winner choose his own design. The decision to do so could actually be considered a perk for the winner and would make AOPA look good.

    Curtis Chapline

  7. The 182 is my favorite flying machine and if I was lucky enough to win it I really would’nt mind if it was painted Pink

  8. Silva says:

    I agree with the comment that the 4 paint schemes offered in the vote were poor. The winner was the best of 4 bad choices. A more “classic” design on the “Crossover Classic” would be ….well…classier.

    That being said….Who the heck wouldn’t love to win a Hot Rod 182?

  9. Once in my hanger…Monterey CA, here I come!!! I fly a rental 182S right now…what a beautiful design and solid flyer! I will enjoy flying my new plane as well.

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