Airplane GEEK

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Bits and Pieces — Painting a Zenith CH 750

By Mike Davenport, EAA 89102, Langley, British Columbia

Once retired, I have managed to keep busy on this and that. Because of my history in the finishing industry I get asked to paint stuff from time to time. Since flying is a passion, I tend to say yes if an airplane is involved.

In the past, this has included a variety of aircraft, from a Piper J-5 to a Quickie Q2 with others as varied as a Luscombe and a Pober Pixie in addition to my own Stinson.

This time the request came from a hangar neighbour who was finishing up a Zenith project but needed help with the paint. He and his son had done the particular paint design and selected the colours. The prime colour selected was yellow with orange and black trim. It was decided to do all of this over a white primer in order to give the best possible base for the yellow. Some consideration was given to typically the fact that yellows tend to be transparent. In the beginning, all went well except for the high cost of the automotive coatings, with the yellow-colored being particularly expensive. More on the yellow later.

bits and pieces painting a zenith ch 750 Airplane GEEK Bits and Pieces — Painting a Zenith CH 750
The intended paint scheme

Because the aircraft is assembled with pop rivets, these had to be considered as a potential problem with the likelihood of “rivet runs.”

A white etch primer was applied to all surfaces and, if possible, coated almost immediately with colour. If more than eight hours passed after primer application, the part had to be sanded lightly prior to top coating.

The yellow turned out to be even more transparent than anticipated, requiring much more than the normal cross coat application. Three coats looked like a minimum but I had only purchased enough for two.

bits and pieces painting a zenith ch 750 Airplane GEEK Bits and Pieces — Painting a Zenith CH 750
All that yellow paint.

COVID-instigated supply chain issues reared its ugly head when I attempted to get more product. It seems the supplier was unable to get more material due to lack of transportation from the U.S. warehouse because of a shortage of drivers and dock workers. Perseverance resulted in toners finally being located in Edmonton and shipped on to Langley.

Everything eventually arrived, allowing me to apply the fourth coat of yellow to the wings. The next task will be to apply the red/orange accents on the wingtips. Once those are done we’ll get going on the rudder, struts, and stab, first in primer then the infamous yellow. More on that next month.

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