DayGlo™ Paint

On 18th February 1959, TAA announced that they would commence painting their aircraft with a fluorescent orange paint. This fluorescent pigment was developed by Switzer Bros Inc of Cleveland, Ohio and marketed as DayGlo Fire Orange™ for the specific purpose of enhancing aircraft visibility. (The name was originally presented as Day-Glo but the hyphen was subsequently dropped and there was no spacing between the two words.) For a time it was expected that the FAA would mandate the application of high visibility paint to all airliners, probably in the wake of the mid-air collision between a United DC-7 and a TWA Super Constellation over the Grand Canyon on 30 June 1956. TAA may have been pre-empting a mandatory requirement but in the event the FAA directive never eventuated.

TAA's DayGlo scheme existed in two versions. The first version (used on the Viscount and F27) featured DayGlo on the fin, rudder, wing tips and prop spinners as well as the fine fuselage cheatline, some of the lettering on the fuselage and the kangaroo emblem. The second version confined DayGlo to the fin, rudder and wing tips with the addition of a white horizontal band and a revised style of lettering on the tail.

Photographic evidence suggests that the Electras carried only the second version of the scheme. Again there were variations to the wing tip markings on the Electras. One variation featured a broad DayGlo band on the tip with narrower white and blue bands inboard. Another variation used in conjunction with the DayGlo tail consisted of natural metal tips with equal width narrow bands of blue, white and red inboard.

TAA's DayGlo scheme was short-lived because it was prone to fading and it provided poor adhesion for subsequent layers of paint. Aircraft were photographed with sections of the tail markings abraded and for a time VH-TLB was missing the VH from its registration! In the absence of a mandatory requirement and given the difficulty in maintaining the DayGlo finish, TAA abandoned the scheme after approximately three years, although some aircraft retained the DayGlo scheme until their next scheduled repaint.

A detailed account of the introduction of DayGlo paint on Australian aircraft written by Trevor W. Boughton appeared in the Journal of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia in August 1960. Click the heading below to read the article in full.


by Trevor W. Boughton


Issue Date Remarks
1 25MAY21
Original issue.


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