Boeing 747 with no markings

I thought, at first, that that was how Weird Al showed up, but this one has red markings.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqg-YZhr3bA

A little late here, but they have to paint the control surfaces before the plane can fly, so if it were on its way to the paint shop presumably the OP would have noticed the painted surfaces, especially the vertical stabilizer.

Why is that, aren’t the control surfaces aluminum? And I thought American Airlines left most of the plane unpainted, including the tail.

Yesterday upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today,
I think he’s from the CIA.

From what I understand (cite: the super cool Boeing factory tour I took a few years back) it has something to do with balancing the weight of the paint on the surface. I would think in AA’s case, no paint is fine. You can usually tell at the factory which airline the planes were going to because of the painted stabilizer.

Here’s a good picture showing a plane near the end of the assembly line: http://ourtoursrock.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/boeing3760.jpg

The planes Boeing tests (recently the 777, 787, and 747-800) are all a light blue/aqua color, well at least in the last few years. And here’s what 737 fuselages being delivered look like.

I always assumed that’s what unpainted planes looked like.

Southern Air

Air Atlanta Icelandic freight

AvSIM, scroll down a bit

Cool shot. I’d actually guess that the blue is from an adhesive plastic film.
Anyone have any idea what the train car structure at the plane’s nose is for?

Apparently they’re icicle breakers, so any icicles hanging down from tunnels don’t scrape the fuselages: :: The Northwest's Own Railfan | Beware of Low Flying Aircraft! ::

The color scheme goes nicely with the black helicopters.

Fascinating, thanks. I could have guessed once a second the fifty years and never thought of icicle breakers. They look overbuilt enough to also tunnel through the Earth itself.

I’m guessing it’s a rigid structure slightly larger than the cross-section of the fuselage, so any obstacle near the track will be struck by this structure (and hopefully pushed aside or broken up) before it hits the fuselage.

ETA: Never mind, I failed to see the correct answer had been given above.

We build the 747-8 TRs where I work and I’ve heard stories of folks calling the airport to report planes flying with engines off overhead.

The painted surfaces you see in those photos are most likely composite materials - most certainly the radome, but also the rudder, leading edges and ailerons and elevators (I am not familiar with the composition of that particular aircraft, but I’m pretty sure about it).

Composite materials are almost always painted with antistatic primer and paint for lightning protection; the primer and topcoat wick static and lightning strikes to the primary metal structure of the aircraft to “ground” it. Static buildup on the radome can interfere with the radar systems underneath it as well. Usually the composite manufacturer will prime and even fully paint the composite parts before delivery to the location of the final aircraft assembly, as the paint is part of the design requirement and needs to adhere to very strict thickness and conductivity criteria.

The rest of the aircraft is what we call “green”, so named because the corrosion protection treatments either tend to cause yellowing (e.g. alodine) or are a green coloured primer. A “green” aircraft can fly without any particular concerns about the material not being painted; in fact, first flight of many aircraft are done on green planes and it is common for business jets to get their individual certification while green, before paint and interior completion, which are done by supplemental certification procedures and not necessarily done at the airframer.

Cite: my job.