An Aircraft Painter is responsible for painting and polishing aircraft. To prepare the plane for paints and finishes, an Aircraft Painter cleans the surfaces and parts. Aircraft Painters also set up and ready the equipment used to apply paint, epoxy, and other materials to the aircraft. In addition, they create a pre-design before applying the paint to the plane.
Aircraft painting is physically demanding work. It also requires a knowledge of various techniques used to ensure that paint remains on the correct surfaces, including masking and sanding surfaces. Aircraft Painters are responsible for maintaining their equipment between jobs and ensuring they are ready for the next task. They make repairs to old paint jobs using color matching software and appropriate touch-up paints and finishes.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Using tools and paint remover solutions, remove old paint from aircraft body and spare parts
- Clean, sand and scratch aircraft surfaces to prepare them for painting
- Apply epoxy, polish, resin or other materials to metal aircraft surfaces before applying the final color coat
- Mix paint pigments to create desired colors
- Mask and outline aircraft body to paint airline logo and livery, numerals, and brand name letters
- Follow safety regulations and wear protective gear during spray painting operations
Education and Background
This position requires a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Skills and Competencies
- Knowledge of the properties of various paints, finishes, and paint removers
- Teamwork and interpersonal communication skills
- Strong hand-eye coordination and proficiency in using tools
- Sufficient physical strength and dexterity to climb on aircraft and manipulate painting equipment
- Knowledge of the use, handling, and disposal of hazardous materials
According to Payscale the median annual salary of an Aircraft Painter with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $35,000
- Tampa, Florida: $38,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $37,000
- Miami, Florida: $40,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $50,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $44,000
- Houston, Texas: $42,000
- Los Angeles, California: $48,000
- New York City, New York: $46,000
- Seattle, Washington: $46,000
- Overall: $43,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $50,000
- Tampa, Florida: $48,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $47,000
- Miami, Florida: $50,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $60,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $54,000
- Houston, Texas: $52,000
- Los Angeles, California: $51,000
- New York City, New York: $56,000
- Seattle, Washington: $56,000
- Overall: $53,000
Similar Job Titles
- Spray Painter
- Aircraft Prepper
- Paint Technician
- Finish Painter
- Aerospace Painter
This position requires a high school diploma or its equivalent. Successful Aircraft Painters can advance into leadership roles such as Lead Painter, Maintenance Manager, or Field Supervisor.
According to the American Coatings Association, a national trade group, increased demand for aircraft due to rising passenger air traffic increases the need for aircraft paints, coatings, and adhesives. However, many companies are turning to automation technologies in aircraft assembly. That means more frequent use of robots to mix and apply paints, rather than using human Painters.
Another trend in the Aircraft Painter field is the advent of primerless polyurethane topcoats. They don’t need an application of primer before being applied, leading to reduced labor, lighter weight, and reduced vapor emissions. They also dry more quickly, enabling Aircraft Painters to accomplish more tasks in the same amount of time. The military is developing and using these materials, but private companies are beginning to create products with similar properties for use in the private sector.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Painting and Coating Workers field should grow by two percent between 2018 and 2028. That’s slower than average.
Aircraft Painters usually work full-time, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where You Can Find Jobs
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
- Aviation Job Search
- Aerospace Crossing
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