Home Forums Free Flight Everything Else Colors?

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    What are some of the most visible color combinations for FF models? I’m thinking white tips and maybe red center?
    I realize that it is hard to make a plane visible in the air then below tree line.
    Any really great ideas accepted.


    Side view in front of trees?
    I’ve never seen anything more visible than white.
    Clear is a REALLY bad choice. 😯


    I have always covered the bottom of my wings ,fus., and one side of the rudder white…that way if the plane lands in tall grass white will stand out the most…


    Dr. Stan Hill, as well as being a fantastic Freeflighter, was an Optometrist or an Opthalmologist, in any case he was some sort of an eye doctor. He did a study on visibility of colors in various lighting conditions and terrain, as I recall discussing these findings with his son Randy, that white was usually always visible (assuming one does not have a white background) with high visibility orange being the best color other than white. Red was near the bottom, with blue, brown and green. I’m not sure where these findings were published, but I believe it may have been some time in the mid to late 60’s


    Are you looking for best visibility in the air or on the ground? I usually use red and black in some form. I have the plane that is my avitar which is clear and translucent red which works quite well in both. The fuselage is now completely black for better visibility in the sky.



    Hi Denny,
    I agree…white really shows up in a blue sky next to Red or dark color
    I have a F1C where the tiny tiplets are covered in white and they show up more than the red main panels which are quite a bit more area..


    I typically use a red fuselage and wing tips with yellow main panels and tail. The red seems to stand out very well both in the air and particularly on the ground. There have been many times where nothing more than one wingtip or the rudder has been poking up through the undebrush, and I can usually see it from a considerable distance. I also sometimes use orange tips and fuselage with white main panels and stab. That works okay for the most part, but in the fall the orange tends to blend in with the surroundings (on the ground) much more than the red.

    Dean McGinnes

    I use red for the fuselage and main panels and yellow tips. Because that is what I like. 🙂


    Colors (or Colours abroad) have to satisfy four visibility requirements: making a model distinct relative to others; visibility in the air while flying above the terrain; visibility against the terrain (at the end of the flight) and visually helping spot the model in a retrieval perched in a tree, high crops (corn) or low crops (wheat or beans)).

    Colors should distinguish a model to help identify it in a mass launch as well as inform others about who has launched. Some fliers use non-symmetrical coloring under the wing or unusual geometrical accents (black circles or red triangles) or unique patterns.

    The wings and the stab (if not covered in Mylar) should have two contrasting colors. One color will not stand out against all backgrounds and distances and three colors look like a flag in my opinion. Mylar tail booms or fins can occasionally flash in the sun light, helping visibility.

    Fuselage and fin colors matter in close range searches and unusual colors or accents could be helpful. A poor choice is to make the stab and the fin invisible by using transparent Mylar. A shining Mylar stab maybe the only visible part in deep wheat but might blend the model into its surroundings from other angles.

    Obviously, there is no “best” color scheme. Models with a black under covering of the wing stand out very well during the flight. But if the outer panels are black they might be difficult to spot at low altitudes. Light purple or blue practically make a model invisible so the preference should be to well-defined distinct colors. Yellow or white center panels and red or orange wing tips are very popular. I have a few Icarex covered models with yellow centers and deep blue outer panels that stand out well in the sky and on retrievals. However, I’m mot sure the models would stand out at a low altitude at a distance. Having a bi-colored outer wing panel might be helpful.

    At long distances colors blurr. For long flyoffs one would like a model whose hue (combined colors) is different than the terrain – a light model on a dark background or vice versa. When it’s getting dark, a model with a lighter hue relative to the background terrain is more visible. Bigger and better binoculars matter.

    On a lighter note – has anyone used a strobe for late evening flying? I’ve heard that some power fliers have used them for night flying.

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