Why is everything in Airports painted with red and white checks?.

You may have seen this in many airports, but have you ever thought, why do they paint like this? What is the need for coloring red and white checks in structures like water towers, radio towers, roofs of buildings etc.

TRV ATC

Well, let me explain you in detail – The Airport authority’s worldwide adopt this method of painting is mainly due to the International Civil Aviation Organizations (ICAO) instruction to all Airports worldwide.  ICAO requests mandatory to adopt the procedure of checked marking to all obstacles at airport, basically structures and objects that are positioned like water tank towers and storage tanks. Once a country applies for a three letter code and an ICAO approval for an airport, the organization procedures clearly indicates to use these checked markings to all obstacles located near the runway or aircraft flight path which are hazardous to aircraft’s.

The ICAO Manual of Aerodrome Standards under the section Aerodrome Design and Operation sub section 6.2.3 reads “An object shall be colored to show a checked pattern if it has essentially unbroken surfaces and its projection on any vertical plane equals or exceeds 4.5 m in both dimensions.  The pattern shall consist of rectangles of not less than 1.5 m and not more than 3 m on a side, the corners being of the darker color.  The colors of the pattern shall contrast each with the other and with the background against which they will be seen.  Orange and white or alternatively red and white shall be used, except where such colors merge with the background”.

In fact the main reason for ICAO’s adoption of this procedure is basically for a clear vision to the Pilots even in low visibility. All structures near the runway and objects those are above certain height needs to be easily identified in darkness and poor visibility. In this condition the best choice of selection for color is these check marks with white and red. Also when looking down from the sky, a single color contrast may not work or even will not give clear view of the object due to the local landscape and light conditions. In all these occasions, a checked white and red color will give the human eye an easy identification and a chance to pick out his destination even in some worse weather conditions.

Hence, this is the reason why ICAO insists to have these colors of red and white check, which you are seeing at all the airports of the world. A requirement widely accepted throughout the world.

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