Any opinions on best color?

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Fighting 14

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I read a maritime visibility study. Sorry I don't have the reference. The conclusion was that neon green was the most visible, beating out neon yellow and orange.
 

Bigshu

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The problem with color is at a distance all colors look black. You will look like a black dot moving even in a yellow airplane. Occasionally the sun might hit it right and you see the color, but at distances that count, you will look black. Probably at the half mile mark you can really see color without issue maybe a mile. That’s breathing down your neck if it’s traffic conflict. My opinion is paint it what you like.
Yes and even if you look at the probability of detection charts for air searches, color doesn't help much finding a crashed airplane. Often, the best indicator is disturbed vegetation or soil. The worst are the ones that spin into the trees. Almost impossible to see from the air. On the plus side, most crashes are found by ground teams using cell phone forensics. So, paint it whatever you want, just try not to crash!
 

byGeorge

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....So, paint it whatever you want, just try not to crash!
....Some shade of blue would be a good choice, lighter than navy, please!
I realize that no color will help me if, for instance, I don't see another airplane overtaking me from behind, and the other pilot is scanning through charts on his glass screen. But my concern is air to air visibility, adding the small amount of extra contrast that might led to being seen "in the nick of time."

My initial thought was a solid bright yellow. I received a PM from someone who pointed out that the RAF paints basic trainers in all black, and suggested that were I to be flying only in "true VFR weather" it would give nice contrast from all angles except from directly above. So perhaps a scheme that combined a black fuselage with yellow wings and horizontal stabilizer that would better contrast the ground.

Which is similar to the dark green and yellow worn by Mr. Luce's Buttercup. (I don't think I'd go with the 12 inch numbers though-- there is such a thing as being too visible. :) )
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cluttonfred

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I realize that no color will help me if, for instance, I don't see another airplane overtaking me from behind, and the other pilot is scanning through charts on his glass screen. But my concern is air to air visibility, adding the small amount of extra contrast that might led to being seen "in the nick of time."

My initial thought was a solid bright yellow. I received a PM from someone who pointed out that the RAF paints basic trainers in all black, and suggested that were I to be flying only in "true VFR weather" it would give nice contrast from all angles except from directly above. So perhaps a scheme that combined a black fuselage with yellow wings and horizontal stabilizer that would better contrast the ground.

Which is similar to the dark green and yellow worn by Mr. Luce's Buttercup. (I don't think I'd go with the 12 inch numbers though-- there is such a thing as being too visible. :) )

Black and yellow is very classy in my view. Those 12" high numbers are useful if you want to cross a border to fly outside your home country.
 

Aerowerx

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The human eye is most sensitive to the yellow-green range. But what you want is something that has the most contrast with the surrounding colors.

"Hunter Orange" is required (here in Ohio) during deer gun season, and a good idea during any hunting, because there is nothing else in nature with that color and it really stands out.

Fluorescent yellow would be my second choice. If I glance out my window what catches my eye first? It is the bright yellow school zone sign.

Or take a woman with you flying. 😁 The female eye is supposed to be able to distinguish more colors than the male eye.
 

Daleandee

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In addition to the colors, a good set of strobes makes a big difference.

Yep. I have a strobe (white) on the vertical fin and another (red) on the belly. I also have LED wig/wag lights in the wing tips that I use extensively. I wanna be seen!
 

Bigshu

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Black and yellow is very classy in my view. Those 12" high numbers are useful if you want to cross a border to fly outside your home country.
Very popular over the years as well. You could do black and yellow like the old-timey air racers, with blaze orange wing tips and tail. That should stand out. You might consider adding a small rear-view mirror in a logical spot and add it to your scan in the vicinity of the field. That should give you the security of not being overrun in the pattern.

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rdj

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C'mon guys. You know it's a neon pink airplane. You'd rather just have a mid-air than be seen in one.

And why is my avatar letter pink? What's going on here? I'm still the blue gender :pilot:
 

Pilot-34

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Yes, I like the two tone paint jobs where the wings are one color and fuselage another. It probably isn't any harder to achieve than a single color since each major assembly is a single solid color. The yellow shows up nicely against the ground. Imagine the Texan with the aluminum areas painted red since Dacron usually isn't naturally silver. Does having two distinct colors double your chances of being seen, because there are two? Or halve them, since there is only half as much of each?
Imagine that Texan with the silver areas painted have hi vis orange!
There is a reason that every construction worker and Hunter in the country is wearing high visibility orange.
That Texan makes me think that That a deep rich hi viz. ability orange matched with a lighter yellow it would be a good choice.
 

Bigshu

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Imagine that Texan with the silver areas painted have hi vis orange!
There is a reason that every construction worker and Hunter in the country is wearing high visibility orange.
That Texan makes me think that That a deep rich hi viz. ability orange matched with a lighter yellow it would be a good choice.
You'd have to be careful on the actual color choices, or it could get ugly fast! Seems like I read somewhere years ago that contrast was important in catching attention, so maybe orange and yellow needs a little more? Orange and medium blue has been a popular color combo for years (they're opposite on the color wheel).
 

Pilot-34

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You'd have to be careful on the actual color choices, or it could get ugly fast! Seems like I read somewhere years ago that contrast was important in catching attention, so maybe orange and yellow needs a little more? Orange and medium blue has been a popular color combo for years (they're opposite on the color wheel).
I think the Texans we’re talking about is quite attractive to change the red areas to hunter fluorescent orange would be just a tiny addition of yellow to the mix .
Then add that to the bear aluminum areas and I think it would still be attractive
 

cluttonfred

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If you want to mess around with colors, this free site is nice for checking the various sorts of complementary colors.


For example, Google tells me that the hex code for Safety Orange is #FF6700 and this color wheel app gives me #0062FF as its complement.

Screenshot 2022-04-24 18.19.36.png

Another little site lets me look up the nearest "named" color to that hex code, and it tells me that shade of blue is called Blue Ribbon.


Screenshot 2022-04-24 18.28.12.png

Aside from the visibility question, this can also help you come up with a color scheme that looks professional.
 

Aerowerx

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If you want to mess around with colors, this free site is nice for checking the various sorts of complementary colors.
....

Aside from the visibility question, this can also help you come up with a color scheme that looks professional.
My interpertation of the OP's intent was to make his plane more visible, not to win a beauty contest at an airshow.

What he needs, then, is a color that stands out against natural background colors----mainly greens, browns, grays, blue, black.

Think about flipping over in a forced landing. If you are laying inverted in a wilderness area you want the search plane to see you. In which case fluorescent yellow or hunter orange would be best.

A solid color would be best. During WW2 ships were painted in patterns to make them less visible to submarines. Same idea applies here. I think any patterns on the plane would be detrimental.
 

Pilot-34

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Simple Patterns are more quickly identified by the eye.
For instance a simple + is more quickly identified in the same size copy of the Since a plane is more or less a large + painting that pattern into the airplane might make it more likely to be identified in a crash situation.
 
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