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Aviation Decals and Graphics

National Aviation Day is approaching on August 19! This holiday was established in 1939 by Franklin Roosevelt to celebrate the development of aviation. Roosevelt issued a presidential proclamation designating Orville Wright’s birthday to be National Aviation Day and encouraged citizens to observe the day with activities that promote interest in aviation.

Graphics have long been a part of aviation history. War planes have always featured identifying marks, which morphed into actual art during World War II. Today’s decal technology allows for graphic wraps that can cover an entire airliner.

The Charlotte-South Tryon FASTSIGNS center in North Carolina was recently chosen for a very special airplane decal job . The Carolinas Aviation Museum brought US Airways Flight 1549 on a 650-mile journey back to Charlotte. Famous for crashing into the Hudson without a single fatality, the airliner will be the centerpiece of a “Miracle on the Hudson” exhibit in the museum. The center designers flew to New Jersey to apply sponsor decals to the actual aircraft, and also designed and applied vehicle wraps on the support vehicles.

This sort of large-profile application is a complex task. Large decals typically require multiple professionals for proper application. It is possible to cut larger decals into smaller pieces, but careful attention must be paid to proper placement if this is done. The temperature is also an important factor in application. If it is too cold, the adhesive will not properly cling to the surface so application should never be attempted below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Bubbles are also an issue with large decals. Some small bubbles will disappear with barometric changes. If they persist, bubbles can simply be popped with a small pin.

Decals can be applied wet or dry. Wet application is typically better for larger decals because it allows the decal placement to be moved a little and creates fewer bubbles. Dry application is better for smaller lettering and decals since there is no way to move the decal once it is placed.

In honor of National Aviation Day, take a look at some of the creative and exciting airline graphics in use today:


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