HomeNewsArticle Display

Picture-perfect painting

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Painter Don Watkins puts the first coat on a KC-135 Stratotanker engine cowling here.  One coat of primer and two coats of paint add 420 to 500 pounds to the aircraft.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Painter Don Watkins puts the first coat on a KC-135 Stratotanker engine cowling here. One coat of primer and two coats of paint add 420 to 500 pounds to the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- After "USAF" is painted under a KC-135 Stratotanker's wing, Gerald Spurgion removes the paper and tape mask.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- After "USAF" is painted under a KC-135 Stratotanker's wing, Gerald Spurgion removes the paper and tape mask. (U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Kenneth Kilgore paints stenciling on a KC-135 Stratotanker emergency exit door.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Kenneth Kilgore paints stenciling on a KC-135 Stratotanker emergency exit door. (U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Workers here put the first coat of paint on a KC-135 Stratotanker.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Workers here put the first coat of paint on a KC-135 Stratotanker. (U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Painter Steve Hamilton finishes stenciling on a KC-135 Stratotanker boom.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Painter Steve Hamilton finishes stenciling on a KC-135 Stratotanker boom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFPN) -- Aircraft leaving the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center here make one final stop to complete the cycle of programmed depot maintenance.

That stop is the paint hangar. What comes in are aircraft fresh from their test flights. What rolls out are planes freshly primed, painted and stenciled.

The provisional 76th Maintenance Wing employs 274 workers in two paint hangars. Each shift has about 85 painters on the floor, said Joe Harkins, acting deputy chief of the paint unit.

The painting process starts with sealing seams and chemically treating the aircraft, he said.

The treatment etches the metal skin so it will hold the paint and also includes a corrosion-preventive coating.

Corrosion typically occurs in areas that trap moisture and are exposed to acids or strong alkalis, Mr. Harkins said.

“If you’re going to fly an airplane 40 years, you’ve got to keep the corrosion down,” he said.

The current primer is “a lot better” than those used in the past, Mr. Harkins said.

A crew can primer a KC-135 Stratotanker in about 45 minutes, and just a few hours later, the aircraft is ready for paint.

The painters use a “high-solids” urethane paint, which means much of the solvents have been removed, leaving a heavier-bodied paint that is harder to apply, Mr. Harkins said.

“The solvents produce a chemical reaction, and when you remove the solvents, it slows the chemical reaction, [and] the paint is slower to dry,” Mr. Harkins said.

Still, a crew takes about three hours to give a KC-135 two coats -- about 120 gallons -- of paint.

The KC-135, B-52 Stratofortress and B-1 Lancer each receive one coat of primer and two coats of paint, which adds 420 to 500 pounds to the aircraft, Mr. Harkins said.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#WeCanDoIt! The #USAF wishes a #HappyBirthday to one of the original “Rosie the Riveters,” Ms. Mae Krier, who turne… https://t.co/n24xC5NClI
RT @Offutt_AFB: A 1,000 yr flood wasn’t enough to stop our professionals from the flying mission. Projecting global combat airpower is neve…
Are you fueled for the day? #USAF #F15E Strike Eagle refuels from a 908th Expeditionary Aerial Refueling Squadron… https://t.co/SXIXjZa8pd
The #AFIT kicked off its #centennial anniversary celebration, recognizing how the men and women who study at AFIT t… https://t.co/S8x9Qn6GH3
380th Air Expeditionary Wing #logistics planners provide the magic behind movements to ensure all cargo & #Airmen a… https://t.co/cNjTcMWNcX
The #AirForce have been pioneers in uncontested space, maintaining the world's most cutting-edge lethal force for o… https://t.co/JqWLA93gqO
.@RAFMildenhall flew a #KC135 Stratotanker to Romania on Mar. 10, 2019 to conduct air refueling training with the R… https://t.co/CD0VLgBNuv
RT @DeptofDefense: What drives some of the most fearless and talented pilots in today’s @USAirForce? Check out our Q&A with pilot Capt. Mic…
#ICYMI, #USAF senior leaders, #CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright and @SecAFOfficial, discuss their priorities on the future of… https://t.co/qfmTLLg8xW
#F35 experts from the U.S., Australia, Japan and South Korea met recently to build on the success of the March 2017… https://t.co/fvVd3EARAT
A #B52H Stratofortress taxis on the runway @TeamMinot on March 5, 2019. The B-52 can perform #strategic attack, clo… https://t.co/AyWJ5zFo6M
#DYK, #MWDs go to basic training just like #Airmen do. Learn how teams train to build a rapport to bring a mutual k… https://t.co/HcD2pnqu1v
.@the182AW #Airmen do not mind getting greasy making missions happen. @AirNatlGuard @IL_Natl_Guard https://t.co/B6pkJ7LB3v
Refueling procedures differ from aircraft to aircraft. Learn how #CV22 Osprey #pilots performed recently with the… https://t.co/iXfoGWYCZ3
RT @Southcom: #SOUTHCOM Military Dep. Commander @USAirForce Lt. Gen. Michael Plehn met today w/ Colombian Army Maj. Gen. Luis Navarro Jimén…
RT @AFSOUTH: 🇨🇴The @FuerzaAereaCol is training with 🇺🇸U.S. joint forces and 5 Partner Nation Air Forces at @NellisAFB for🚩#RedFlag! This is…
Our friends over @48FighterWing got a great photo of an #Airman working on the #F15 #StrikeEagle, helping to ensure… https://t.co/3voiBxkfa1
#Airmen from the U.S., Thailand, & Singapore visited a local school as part of a cultural exchange during Exercise… https://t.co/7yUZ8QIwRK
It's all in the details as Aircrew Flight Equipment #Airmen supply lifesaving equipment, ensuring aircrews continue… https://t.co/7zbizluJOU