Courtesy EVA International

Shades of Gray

Jet Aviation Basel Delivers Amazing BBJ

Using Sherwin-WIlliams Jet Glo Express in a challenging and sophisticated design.  

Jet Aviation Basel’s design and successful implementation of waves in 19 shades of grey, running nose-to-tail down a 737-700 completions project, is one of the most challenging, subtle and sophisticated designs yet to grace a BBJ.

Some waves start off grey at the nose, strengthening to black in the middle of the fuselage and fading back to grey at the tail. Identical waves run on both sides of the fuselage, and from a paint application standpoint the challenges were enormous. The color transitions had to be seamless and smooth to the eye with the same “fade” taking place simultaneously on both sides of the fuselage. Translating this into the real world of potentially messy paint and spray equipment and implementing it on the curved surface of a BBJ was a daunting challenge.

Marius Peens, paint shop manager, Jet Aviation Basel, told EVA that the initial idea was to use six shades to achieve the transition from black to light grey and back again.

“When we began working out the details, however, it became clear that the project would work best with sixteen different custom mixed shades on top of the black, white and actual grey that were our starting points,” Peens says.

This meant that much of the success of the project would hinge on a successful collaboration with the paint manufacturer and their local distributor. 

We recommended and ended up using Sherwin-Williams Jet Glo Express polyester urethane topcoat, which gave us a sleek, durable finish, along with a clearcoat to protect the finish and ensure that it stayed shiny for years to come,

Marius Peens

Paint Shop Manager, Jet Aviation Basel

Serge Volpatti, Field Technical Advisor at PSG, Sherwin-Williams’ distributor in Europe and the Middle East, was on hand for much of the project, providing technical advice.

“I was contacted by Jet Aviation Basel as to our views on the best way to achieve the fade from one shade to the next,” says Volpatti. “By running repeated training exercises, it became clear how best to achieve the fades without too much playing around with the paint gun.”

 “We ran through a complete paint practice run four times on the full scale mock up,” says Peens. “We had to change colors 38 times as we moved down the fuselage and we used laser pen markings on the fuselage to indicate to the painters precisely when they needed to move to a different pot of paint. While painting the aircraft, the painters on both sides of the fuselage had to stay in constant contact and paint at the same pace, changing at the same points.”

The four practice runs paid off handsomely. When it came time to actually paint the waves onto the aircraft, everything went smoothly through the course of a single afternoon’s paint session.

“There is no doubt that this was the most exciting, and the most complex paint project we have ever undertaken,” says Jeremie Caillet, Director Project Management at the Jet Aviation Basel Completions Center. “This aircraft was our 25th BBJ completion. So, we’ve been at this a long time, but we’d never before undertaken such a challenging livery design.”

The Center has already gained several new projects as a result of other owners being highly impressed by the design.

“Other principals have seen the aircraft and inquired where it was designed and painted - and that has been tremendous for us,” Caillet said.

“This is a great example of Sherwin-Williams being able to supply a high-quality topcoat and clearcoat while working with our European partner, PSG, to meet the needs of a terrific customer in Jet Aviation Basel,” says Julie Voisin, Global Product Manager, Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings. “We are delighted with the quality of the finished project, with so many mixed and applied custom colours, and all in a great looking coating that will last for years.”


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