Indestructible Paint helps to protect iconic aviation

23 August 2021

The performance paint and coatings expertise that has long seen Indestructible Paint Ltd. play an important role in commercial and military aerospace has now extended into one of the most celebrated sectors of the industry. The Birmingham, UK-based company has developed coating solutions for a series of propeller blades that have been fabricated for the famous Spitfire – meeting specific challenges associated with the wooden material used.

Hercules Propellers, who has a leading reputation for the production of propeller blades for the leisure aircraft sector, has been commissioned to manufacture propellers as part of a Spitfire restoration programme being undertaken by the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar. The need to ensure each blade is fully protected from the rigours of operation and the elements has prompted the organisation to make the most of Indestructible Paint’s expertise.

John Bourke, Technical Sales Manager at Indestructible Paint, emphasises key considerations that have had to be accommodated: "Spitfire propellers are manufactured from hydro lignum – an extremely dense wood substrate that requires the protective coating to bond and perform to the highest standard,” he says. "We have, therefore, worked with Hercules Propellers to design a coating system that comprises a two-pack epoxy base coat, two-component erosion coating, yellow tipping paint and a clear semi-matt polyurethane lacquer."

The coatings were applied following the shaping of the propellers from timber in a dedicated machining centre installed by Hercules Propellers at its premises in Stroud. Trials were completed on a non-flight prototype to prove the system before the first set of four propellers for flight was completed.

"There can be few aircraft that are better recognised or more iconic than the legendary Spitfire which has a history that will be acknowledged by millions of people in this country and much further afield,” adds Brian Norton, Indestructible Paint’s Managing Director. "We have extensive experience in developing coatings that are used in aerospace manufacturing and maintenance worldwide so are delighted to apply this knowledge to a dedicated and significant part of the industry.

"Rupert Wasey, Managing Director at Hercules Propellers, and his team deserve huge credit for the work they do in helping to keep memories alive – with a little help from the most advanced and modern coatings technology available.”

< Previous article

SIKA to divest European industrial coatings business

Next article >

LANXESS to acquire IFF’s microbial control business