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Glow in the dark aircraft paint.

Increase nighttime visibility of aircraft with glow in the dark paint.
  (+15, -1)(+15, -1)
(+15, -1)
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It occured to me today as I was landing at night, in the rain, that airplanes in these conditions are relatively hard to see. Even with the strobe lights on you can only see the positions of the lights, not the body, which makes manuevering on the ground dangerous. But if you just cover the plane with lights that adds weight, cost, and requires more electricity.

So they should paint them with glow in the dark paint! Even if it isn't the whole aircraft, the outline of it could have the paint so you can clearly see how big it is and make sure you don't hit it. In addition to making ground operations safer there would be the added benefit that if something horrible happened like the recent Air France crash the wreckage would be easier to spot at night and in the ocean.

DIYMatt, Jun 10 2009

Retroreflective_20pinstripes [hippo, Jun 16 2009]

Navy Baked http://www.sae.org/mags/aem/7733
[DIYMatt, Aug 29 2010]

[link]






       I like. Would look like a ghost-plane
simonj, Jun 10 2009
  

       This would've changed the course of WWII.
Ian Tindale, Jun 10 2009
  

       Excellent. [+]   

       Would be good for cars,too.
8th of 7, Jun 15 2009
  

       Ah, but glow in the dark paint is generally Phosphorescent, which means it needs to be "charged" via external light, in order to glow, and doesn't usually glow (or at least not brightly) for long..   

       I suggest using microsphere paint, commonly known as retroreflective or high visibility paint. 3M's version is called scothchlite. It's what road signs, etc are painted with, and it basically reflects light back to the origin, ie if you use even a low powered torch, you can clearly see a retroreflective road sign at several hundred metres range. Basically I'd paint large sections of commercial aircraft with scotchlite. It'd be irritating at times, but the plane'd glow like a bastard with even airport floodlighting, letalone any kind of search or spot light. The observer just needs to be within a few degrees of arc from the light source, with brightness dropping off fairly rapidly from there.   

       Also be cool to use your handheld spotlight to illuminate 747's at 30,000 feet...
Custardguts, Jun 15 2009
  

       If we paint them right maybe gravity will just yield.   

       this is kind of interesting, but I wonder if there are negative weight and electricity buildup implications
theircompetitor, Jun 15 2009
  

       Would you paint just the belly of the aircraft or the entire fuselage? And maybe the tail as well?
Not sure if you'd see such a painted aircraft all that much better in the rain anyhow.
Gamma48, Jun 16 2009
  

       But [21], what about the coolness factor of being able to clearly illuminate a commercial jet at altitude with a handheld light?
Custardguts, Jun 16 2009
  

       This is a good idea. Might I suggest sponsors logos being painted on the underside of the wings in contrasting glow-in-the-dark colours?   

       The paint does not have to be fluorescent, it can be radiolumonescent and hence not require 'charging'.
vincevincevince, Jun 16 2009
  

       ...or what about "retroflective pinstripes [linked] for aeroplanes"? - they'd look smart and the stripes would lend an impession of speed and movement.
hippo, Jun 16 2009
  

       //What about the security risk of just that?//   

       ..Jesus, what are we scared of now? If Joe terrorist is technically advanced/equipped enough to be able to do something to a commercial jet at high altitude (or anywhere other than on the ground) - then chances are he's able to locate said jet, regardless of reflective paint.   

       I mean really, you can spot a jet easy enough in daylight, are you suggesting they conduct night flights so the jets can't be spotted? for what purpose?
Custardguts, Jun 17 2009
  

       I reckon I could pick up the underside of a 747 wing (that was painted with retroreflective paint, of course) with my handheld spotlight I use for hunting, crock spotting, boat navigation and general nuisance-ing.   

       It's a lightforce 170mm handheld light, running a brumbie'd up 50 watt HID system through a H1 globe. Due to the adjustable focus reflector, it throws a coherent beam an amazing distance, and I can easily see reflective street signs at a good 5 kilometers away (which is the longest straight road with signs that I can find out here). There are no cities within 800km of where I am, so it gets nice and dark here at night. That's a sign maybe 1000X500mm big. A 747 wing's gotta be several hundred times that area.
Custardguts, Jun 17 2009
  

       I suspect that phosphorescent glow in the dark paint wouldn't actually be of much use for this application.   

       I found a mess of glow in the dark texture paint, and have been enthusiastically smearing it on all manner of items, including a folding scooter; the only form of wheeled transportation that is allowed for use on campus.   

       From about ten feet away, after even half an hour out of fluorescent lights, nobody even notices that it glows in the dark. I suspect this has something to do with how poorly green light transmits through the earth's atmosphere. Also, if I am riding during the twilght hours, the gradual decrease in exterior light tends to prevent any exceptional glowing to occur after dark.   

       Thus, despite how excited I am about glow in the dark items in general, I suspect the material is best used for up-close applications where artificial lighting is involved, and the reflective paint would be a better, and probably cheaper solution to the issue at hand.
ye_river_xiv, Jun 17 2009
  

       I'm afraid this idea would offer little or no benefit and would cost a lot. [+]
coprocephalous, Jun 17 2009
  

       to keep the glow you could rig aerodynamic UV lights all over the aircraft shining on to the surfaces, total weight would be equivalent of 1-2 passengers but would increase visibility. Or install electroluminescent stripes on the plane, theyre the same material that lights up old laptops.
Arcanus, Jun 18 2009
  

       Hey look, it's baked now. In the Navy.
DIYMatt, Aug 29 2010
  

       Just coat them in radium paint   

       It won't be healthy, but it will be awesome
xxobot, Aug 31 2010
  
      
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