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HighBypass

Royal Air Force One !? - UK Prime Minister's A330 MRTT

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4 minutes ago, HighBypass said:

It is believed that the $1.1 mill cost is attributed to a refurbishment which included the repainting. A quick and dirty google search reveals that a typical 777 repaint costs $100k to $200k (larger plane than a 330)

https://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/13738/how-much-does-it-cost-to-give-an-airliner-a-fresh-coat-of-paint#:~:text=A 777 paint job can,can cost %2450%2C000 or more.&text=A news article that linked,average of 312 hours each.

You are right Reader, hence the wording used in that post and my final sentence of that post.

That makes more sense.

Cheers, Pete

 


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10 hours ago, jon b said:

So that was the day I single handedly declared war on the United States !

Aye, them were the good 'ol days; when the conquering was done manually, and sailors weren`t too fussy 'bout flags. 

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5 hours ago, Reader said:

It strikes me that the aircraft was working perfectly well in its RAF grey and that £900,000 could have been spent on something useful,

It`s paint. Without it the weather eventually gets into the aircraft. It`s so heavy that if it didn`t matter nobody would be wasting fuel to fly it. And the visuals matter. Just look at birds. There`s something about flying that yearns to be flamboyant.    

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With regard to the cost of the paint job, as others have noted, the aircraft (as all others like it) has to be stripped of all its livery every once in a while so it can be taken pretty much down to its component part in many places, and in other places where it remains in one piece, be scanned with UV and Ultrasound etc, to check for metal fatigue and cracking/crazing in any composite materials. So you have the cost of removing the old livery, then the cost of dismantling, then the cost of scanning, plus any remedial work which proves necessary as a result of the inspection, then it gets put back together, then it can get painted and have decals applied.

A typical livery for an airliner, which contrary to popular belief is usually a base coat and then all the fancy stuff is typically self-adhesive vinyl decals, rather than actual paint, costs between two, and three hundred thousand quid depending on the complexity of the livery, to produce and apply to an airliner. Now of course there is also the cost of commissioning and coming up with a design if that is to be unique and new, so it's not true to say that there would be no additional cost in producing the British state jet's livery at all, as opposed to painting it up in standard R.A.F. colours, but the vast majority of that £900,000 figure which is being bandied about, would have been spent anyway on the aforementioned check it was having anyway and if I had to guess, I'd say they probably spent less than 50 grand coming up with the design itself.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Reader said:

It strikes me that the aircraft was working perfectly well in its RAF grey and that £900,000 could have been spent on something useful, instead of something that could easily look like the prime minister of a small island off the coast of Europe trying to emulate another leader of a rather larger country. At some point, all of this nonsense has to be paid for and the humble taxpayer is the one watching their money pouring down an apparently bottomless drain.

Using your comment as an example, it's interesting to see how many people (especially those that should know better) launch into a diatribe against a politician of a different political slant.
Elements of the media kept pushing the narrative of a '£900k paint job' to appeal to their viewers / readership, despite the full story being available to report.
 

On 6/28/2020 at 1:03 PM, Ron Attwood said:

Too 'presidential' for my taste. There is an article in the paper this morning, reminding us that the Queen (God bless 'er) , Margaret Thatcher (God bless 'er too) and various ministers used to travel in an RAF Transport Command VC10. Nicely understated and still British.

Let's not forget that the aircraft is a huge marketing tool. It's the perfect backdrop for poltical leaders when arriving in foreign countries on State visits.
It takes on added importance now that the UK has to conclude its own trade deals with countries.
While not 100% British, the wings are made in Broughton and the Trent 700 engines are made in Derby.

The great thing about this VIP aircraft is that it still retains another role for the RAF:

RAF_Voyager.jpg


Anyway, here's another European country getting their flag the "wrong way round" while using an 'ostentatious' design...

F-RARF_-_A330-200_-_French_Airforce_-_EV

 

Edited by F737NG
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6 minutes ago, F737NG said:

Let's not forget that the aircraft is a huge marketing tool. It's the perfect backdrop for poltical leaders when arriving in foreign countries on State visits.

Agreed. Going back to when Concorde was operational I seem to recall the then British Prime Minister (maybe more than one) arriving at G8 summits and other grand occasions in that illustrious aircraft. Lots of one-upmanship going on there and the cost was obviously ignored as it would have been eye-wateringly expensive compared to an Airbus or Boeing.

It’s all about prestige and looking the part.

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8 minutes ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

Agreed. Going back to when Concorde was operational I seem to recall the then British Prime Minister (maybe more than one) arriving at G8 summits and other grand occasions in that illustrious aircraft. Lots of one-upmanship going on there and the cost was obviously ignored as it would have been eye-wateringly expensive compared to an Airbus or Boeing.

It’s all about prestige and looking the part.


In the interests of stating facts, it was a certain Tony Blair who last had the honour of PM with an impressive arrival.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3fiPl5BEu4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpHNhoNQQyw

By the time Gordon Brown became PM, Concorde had already been retired for 4 years.

Otherwise, yes, prestige and looking the part matters (even if it appears vain). Plus it works out a lot cheaper to have a VIP aircraft than chartering one from BA or Virgin.
 

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Posted (edited)

I don't object to the cost, but the media's reporting of it as a £0.9m paint job is patently misleading to inflame/sell, I presume it needed painting anyway as part of the D check so it was effectively almost free.

I think it's about time Britain had a proper VIP livery on its executive transport for reasons of image/PR, considering most of the G7 have, and indeed some rather smaller nations have widebodies with special liveries.

As for the livery itself I don't hate it but have a few observations:

  • The gold lettering looks chintzy, should've been blue or black
  • Should have the full name of the country "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"
  • Not entirely convinced by the stylised flag, I think it's much classier to have it in full and flat
  • Given that when on VIP duties it's likely to be carrying a representative of Her Majesty (either HM Government or a member of the Royal Family) I think adding the Royal Arms could have provided a bit of grandeur. Especially since the 146CCs are being retired.
  • Would've been nice to get the Rolls Royce logo on the engines, and perhaps paint the nacelles silver.

I think the old white and blue RAF Transport Command livery would've suited well given it was kind of iconic, just with the text amended and union flag and Royal Arms placed on the tail fin - it looks like https://www.airliners.net/photo/UK-Air-Force/De-Havilland-DH-106-Comet-C2/2391650/L

Edited by ckyliu
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2 hours ago, F737NG said:

Anyway, here's another European country getting their flag the wrong way round while using an ostentatious design...

The "wrong way round?" If one looks from the front, it is obvious that the flag's "stripes" have to flow around the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer in order to match the obverse side.

Hence, the starboard side will always appear 'backwards'... 😉

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, ckyliu said:

I don't object to the cost, but the media's reporting of it as a £0.9m paint job is patently misleading to inflame/sell, I presume it needed painting anyway as part of the D check so it was effectively almost free..

Yes. Typical MSM. and yes it did.

4 hours ago, ckyliu said:
  • Should have the full name of the country "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"..

Maybe - it's not like the fuselage isn't long enough! :happy:

4 hours ago, ckyliu said:

I think adding the Royal Arms could have provided a bit of grandeur...

The Royal Arms are next to the door(s), but they are not too prominent...:dry:

IMHO our 330 looks better than the French one! :cool:

EDIT - I do like your suggestion regarding the engines having an RR logo.:cool:

Edited by HighBypass

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@HighBypass Ah I'd missed that, I see it's a microscope one by the second set of doors, it's smaller than the cabin windows! Not even the full royal arms either, just the cipher, so perhaps Royal Mail will use it? 🙄

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