Sky Talk

Going Inside: Painting Airbus Helicopters Piece by Piece

It takes 92 rolls of masking tape, three coats of primer and color and at least 14 days to paint an Airbus helicopter.

The paint shop, which paints up to 67 helicopters a year, is part of Airbus Helicopters’ Grand Prairie headquarters and completion center. To completely paint a helicopter, workers have to disassemble all of the doors, belly panels and drive shaft covers and then reassemble the helicopter.

Lead aircraft painter Jeff Cox said customers can choose three colors as part of the standard paint job on an Airbus helicopter but the shop often does custom paint jobs that can take up to a month to complete.

“We match anything the customer wants...anything that they can think of, any kind of custom, we can do it,” Cox said, noting the shop has painted artwork designed by Brazilian artist Romero Britto on the side of an aircraft and airbrushed a galaxy on another.