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Aircraft painting : November 2015 - February 2016

After checking out a few paint shops, I elected to go with Flying Kolors Aero Paints in Riverside. I knew several others, including a Tiger owner, who had their aircraft painted at Flying Kolors with excellent results. The only warning is: it takes a while! The folks there take the time to do some beautiful work. The paint job for Cleo took 93 days from drop off to pick up.

I had started by looking at several out-of-state shops, because I had been told California environmental restrictions don't allow the use of "better" solvent-based paints. It turns out the limitation apparently only applies to automotive use - many California aircraft shops use the exact same brand and formulation as those from out of state.

Another major concern was finding a shop familiar with Grummans. There's a Traveler on the field at Montgomery that was recently totalled after a paint job. The shop that did the work apparently hadn't masked off any of the bondlines, and the plane was quite literally coming apart at the seams! :(

Aside from the positive referrals, Flying Kolors was also close enough that I could drop by and see the progress over time. Here's a selection of images of the work in progress...

November 18 - Drop off

Lots of sun and flying through rain have done a number on the paint job.

December 4 - Stripping in progress

The back half was mostly down to the aluminum

Paint chips everywhere!

A bit of corrosion


December 16 - Stripping still in progress

Old Frankensteinesque wheel pant repairs.

A bunch of control surfaces

Some hangar rash on the right wingtip. All the old filler on the plane will eventually be removed.

Airplane meets zombie apocalypse?

Must be the canopy for SN 838


Mmmm... paint sludge!


January 9 - Cleaning nearly complete

Bottom of left wing and fuel tank access panels

That corrosion spot, now cleaned up


With the filler removed, the right wingtip looks pretty abused!

Not sure what happened here


Wing repair from an old bird strike.

Repaired wheelpants

Wingtips n' things


January 19 - Alodine

Control surfaces all clean


All manner of dents and dings patched up.



The right wingtip with completed bodywork

The lower nose bowl, all cleaned up

February 1 - Primer coat



The right wingtip looks fine now!

Filling in some smaller dings that weren't evident before.

February 3 - Base white coat

Shiny white fairings

All the access plates

I think all white looks stranger than all primer green


February 19 - Delivery!

For the final paint scheme, I decided to stick with the original 1978 design in an orange and dark color because, well, that's what color tigers are! The final result was simply gorgeous!

All that's left to do is a few placards.

_Now_ it's officially a Tiger!


Ready to fly!

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