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Mark Kissling

Signshop Installs Airplane Graphics from Kit

Another vehicle graphics project a shop of any size can handle.




Airplanes are vehicles too and vehicles need graphics. Planes of all sizes are no exception.

AS A PRE-TEEN IN THE 1970’s, I loved Baa Baa Black Sheep — No! Not the nursery rhyme — the television series about World War II US Marine fighter pilots in the Pacific. I even fantasized for a time that I would build and fly my own replica WWII fighter, and subscribed to Homebuilt Aircraft magazine to learn how… Ah yes, such are the dreams of a boy.

While I never even started flying lessons at any age, some young people obviously pursue that dream and achieve it. This was the case with a long-standing, local vehicle-graphics client of FastTrack Signs (Bellefontaine, OH). That customer happens to own and fly a single-engine propeller airplane, which is kept in a hangar at the Bellefontaine Regional Airport. The plane had older graphics on it that were not appealing to the client, FastTrack co-owner Dennis Schaub says.

The client furnished a stock kit of graphics specifically for this model plane. “The colors were customized to match their company logo/branding,” Schaub says. First, however, “we had a ton of removal work to do.”

Once all of the old graphics were gone, the install went amazingly smooth, as he put it. “Of course, there are few straight lines on a plane to measure from and lots of compound curves to work with, but overall, it wasn’t too bad,” Schaub adds. “There were a few graphics near the wheels that were only a few inches off the ground, so that was a challenge getting that low to apply the new graphics.”

Winter chilled the air and the bones in Ohio when FastTrack did this job. “Thankfully, we were able to install the graphics in the airport’s workshop hangar,” Schaub remarks.


Check FAA regulations before adding any graphics.

Like last month’s tradeshow graphic (see St, June 2024), here’s another job a sign company of any size can handle. “We have a tiny shop and only do cut vinyl in house,” Schaub says of FastTrack, which he co-owns and operates with wife Carly Schaub. “While we do a fair number of printed graphics, we outsource the printing.”

One thing to keep in mind regarding airplane graphics is that many FAA rules apply and govern what can and cannot be used, Schaub cautions. Most pilots or aircraft owners are aware of this and should work with you, he says.

While maybe slightly less exciting than tagging a vintage WWII F4U Corsair like “Pappy” Boyington himself flew in the actual “Black Sheep Squadron,” this project did excite one normally graphics-unimpressed youngster.

“My teenage son typically has to be dragged in to help at the family business,” Schaub says, “but he was really excited to go help with this project! We talked to pilots and mechanics all day long during the install, so it was a bit of a teenage boy’s dream, lol. After we finished the plane my son got to take a flight in it, so that was icing on the cake to the whole experience.”





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