Duncan Aviation logo

Protecting Your Aircraft's Paint To Ensure Structural Strength And Corrosion Resistance

April 2024

Aircraft aren’t just painted to make them pretty; they’re painted to protect the structure from failure. Every time you fly your aircraft, it’s exposed to environmental elements that will damage the paint over time.


Sun exposure fades paint, wind and sand scratch it, and heat and cold alternately cause the paint to expand and contract – which causes cracking and pitting. Mix in humidity, sea water, air pollution, and ice, and over time, corrosion may start to form, even if only at a microscopic level.

On a metal surface, corrosion needs only oxygen and moisture to get started. Although both elements are necessary for life on earth, they can be detrimental to your aircraft.

Your aircraft also is continually subjected to the normal stresses of flight, including severe temperature and pressure changes. Every component of an aircraft is affected, and eventually, when coupled with corrosion, the structural integrity of the aircraft can be compromised.

View Duncan Aviation Paint Galleries 

What can you do to protect your aircraft?

  • Inspect your aircraft regularly. As the aircraft ages, the joints become worn, skins stretch, and structural components begin to weaken. Evidence of these changes is not always immediately visible, so a solid maintenance program is a must.
  • Add a new, high-quality exterior coat of paint as a necessary maintenance event. An exterior paint refurbishment not only increases the value and performance of your aircraft, it also may help prevent future corrosion. Have your aircraft stripped, inspected, and repainted by a reputable aircraft paint facility every five to seven years. As you’re selecting colors and a new stripe scheme, be sure that all door jambs, airstairs, gear, wheels/brakes, fasteners, windows, lenses, seams, and seals are inspected, to determine what might need repair or replacement. This will ensure that you’re comfortable with the steps being taken to evaluate the current condition of your aircraft and its long term care. Rather than scheduling a separate time to take your aircraft out of its flight rotation, consider adding exterior paint refurbishment when your aircraft is already down for major maintenance.
  • Consider adding Permagard as an added layer of protection. Permagard is a revolutionary reactive polymer coating that provides exceptional protection for your paintwork. Unlike traditional waxes, Permagard chemically bonds to the pores of the surface, creating a seal that shields against damage. As the treated surface cures, the plasticized molecules elongate and interlock, forming a robust and durable protective coating. 
  • Keep your aircraft in a hangar when it’s not flying to offer some protection and to extend the life of your paint.
  • As you take delivery of your newly painted aircraft, you or your maintenance supervisor should take time to review the ongoing maintenance items with the paint facility to understand how to keep the exterior paint looking shiny and clean.
  • At regular inspection intervals, evaluate the paint condition and have the paint touched up when you begin to notice environmental and moisture intrusion areas around rivets, fasteners, seams, or other wear or flex areas of the aircraft. Sealing these cracks and pits will help provide a longer lasting finish and protect the aircraft from the potential progression of the corrosion.
  • Keep up-to-date. Paint technology has improved and will continue to evolve as new products and processes are developed. Pre-coat washes and primers provide a majority of the chemistry related to corrosion protection, and proper care of topcoats through regular cleaning and care will also affect the appearance of the exterior paint on your aircraft.

Corrosion can form in different places on or inside the aircraft. Regardless of the type or location of the corrosion, it’s important to have a prevention plan in place. While there is no guarantee that painting your aircraft on a regular basis will prevent all corrosion repairs in the future, if you do not do so, you will be faced with corrosion at some point in the life of your aircraft.

Many owners paint an aircraft thinking how beautiful the stripes and shiny base colors will look. But paying attention to the condition of the paint can pay far larger long-term dividends on the value and safety of the aircraft.

Request a paint quote.

Duncan Aviation 2024 NBAA Maintenance Conference Special Paint Promotion

Duncan Aviation 2024 NBAA Maintenance Conference Special Paint Promotion

We are excited to offer a special 2024 NBAA Maintenance Conference Paint Promotion for a complete exterior strip and repaint for owners and operators of large cabin aircraft. Act now to take advantage of the 10% incentive off the base price for select paint slots at our full-service facility in Provo, Utah, with an input date between May 15th and July 31st of this year. Take advantage of the downtime and get an additional 5% off any interior refurbishment work added to the scheduled paint workscope pending availability.

Each operator who signs up and completes a full exterior paint workscope with Duncan Aviation during the promotion period will receive either a scale aircraft model painted in your livery, or a framed 3D illustration of your aircraft as a gift from Duncan Aviation. Those attending the 2024 NBAA Maintenance Conference in Portland, Oregon, that stop by the booth and schedule their paint project during the conference will be entered for a 1 in 6 chance of winning a Garmin D2 Mach 1 Pro Aviator Smartwatch.

Find a Duncan Aviation Paint and Interior Sales Representative at the NBAA Maintenance Conference to sign up or learn more. The drawing for the watch will be held the first week in July.

Follow this link to find more information about the Duncan Aviation 2024 NBAA Maintenance Conference Special Paint Promotion: https://duncan-dev.dotcms.cloud/services/paint-refurbishment/paint-promo


KLENN Nate Klenke Manager, Completions Service Sales Lincoln, NE (LNK) +1 402.479.4142

Related Tech Articles

Top Eight Questions Customers Have About Aircraft Paint
November 2023

Citation Composite Panel Corrosion
June 2022

Corrosion Does Not Discriminate
July 2021

Value Survey: $200 For Five Minutes Of Your Time
June 2021

Talking To the Principal About Post-Prebuy Projects
March 2021

View All Paint Refurbishment Tech Articles