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Colors for high-altitude flying


high altitude colors

These are some photos of good colors for high altitude flying..Transparent Yellow in particular shows up well when the plane is high overhead. The sun "glows" thru the covering Where there's structure: leading edge, trailing edge sheeting, the color makes little difference, so it might as well be black as in (#1). Black has been found to the be the optimum color for sighting something in the air. You may not always be able to discern the orientation of the object, but you usually can see where it is. Colors tend to go to grey at any distance. The more colors there are, the shorter that distance becomes.
The yellow patches in the Parasol Kadet (#6) are effective, but at the distance a Kadet can be flown, not too useful. Likewise the Lifter (#4) will never get to any distance or altitude under normal flight conditions. But it does look good. For long distance flying where the plane isn't high, but far away, a white fuselage is easy to spot when the background is dark. Against a blue sky, or mountains.. but in a cloudy sky it goes away very quickly. Here again black can be the optimum color. As the image when viewed from other than directly below is smaller, black can make the most of the useable viewing area.

high altitude colors
For medium to distant flying, with manuvering involved, top-bottom becomes very important, as well as orientation. These planes show why a light colored top and dark colored bottom are most effective:
high altitude colors
(A) is a Seniorita, The dark green and flourescent yellow-green top is VERY visible at all distances and orientations.. (B) is a Victory Stik, with flourescent orange working as well as yellow-green. (C) is a Big Stick. This is pretty close up, but orientation at distance is difficult. (E) is a Tiger Moth. This one never gets far away, so any color will work. (F) is a camera-carrier. Black works best at altitudes, as long as the plane's orientation is more or less level flight.

..Manuvering colors..

...Treatise on color....

..Electric Gentle Lady.....

..Full-scale Sukhoi, Extra, Edge..

..Vee-tail camera plane..

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E-mail to: Paul J. Burke