NAO 201-115A: NOAA Manned Aircraft Color and Identification

Issued 11/09/2015; Effective 11/09/2015 Reviewed Last: 11/09/2015

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This Order prescribes the policy and defines guidelines for the painting and identification of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) manned aircraft.


NOAA manned aircraft shall be painted in accordance with the guidelines established by this Order. Any deviation from this Order must have prior approval from the Director, Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO). This Order does not determine the schedule for the painting or repainting of aircraft.


A NOAA manned aircraft is defined as an aircraft that is owned or leased by NOAA, or that is on bailment to NOAA from the military or other Federal agency.


  1. This policy updates the general appearance of NOAA manned aircraft to a more sophisticated design with the NOAA gull on the vertical stabilizer. This -policy conforms to the new paint schemes approved for the NOAA manned aircraft fleet. This paint scheme complies with all FAA regulations pertaining to aircraft identification markings.
    1. All NOAA manned aircraft shall be painted white and trimmed with the reflex blue (dark blue) and process blue (light blue) found in the NOAA emblem. Heavy aircraft may have the lower fuselage, wing surfaces, and nacelles painted gray.
    2. The fuselage shall be painted with a "wave" like reflex blue field along with a process blue accent stripe in a similar manner either above or below depending on aircraft configuration. Engine nacelles may be painted in the same manner as the fuselage. The color is to match the reflex blue and process blue in the NOAA emblem. If the configuration of the aircraft warrants, a narrower black stripe may be added above and/or below the blue stripes. For enhanced visibility, wing surfaces may be painted either reflex blue or process blue.
    3. If the configuration of the aircraft permits, the words "UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE" in capital letters may be displayed prominently on both sides of the upper fuselage in bold black lettering. The word "DEPARTMENT" may be abbreviated to read "DEPT".
    4. The Gull emblem shall be white, approximately centered on both sides of the reflex blue vertical stabilizer, and sized to match the shape and design of the tail. The NOAA emblem may be displayed on both sides of the upper portion of the fuselage.
    5. The aircraft registry "N" number shall be displayed in the same manner and size required by Federal Aviation Regulations Title 14, Part 45.
    6. The United States flag shall be displayed on both sides of the vertical stabilizer above the Gull emblem and/or both sides of the fuselage on all NOAA manned aircraft.
    7. The name of the operational unit may be displayed low on the forward fuselage in letters no larger than one-fourth (1/4) the height of the "COMMERCE" designation.
    8. Walkways used for inspection and fueling as well as the wing and flap surfaces in the engine exhaust path may be painted gray or black.
    9. A non-glare black paint may be used on the area immediately forward of the windshield. If used, a non-glare black paint must be incorporated into the overall paint scheme in order that the directional appearance of the design is enhanced.
    10. The leading edges of all flight surfaces fitted with de-ice boots shall be left unpainted.
    11. The outer six (6) inches of the propeller tip areas may be painted with red/white/blue striping.
    12. Aircraft winglets may be painted either solid white or with reflex blue and process blue trim in a manner similar to the fuselage. The NOAA emblem may be displayed on the inboard side of the winglet.
  2. Proposed paint designs other than those promulgated in this Order shall be submitted to the Director, OMAO for approval.


The Director, OMAO, has overall management authority for NOAA aircraft and shall approve any deviations from this prescribed paint scheme.

SECTION 6. References.



  1. This Order supersedes NAO 201-115, NOAA Aircraft Color and Identification issued July 26, 1991.
  2. The NOAA Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere signs because OMAO does not have a Delegation of Authority to sign this NAO.


Under Secretary of Commerce

Office of Primary Interest:
Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO)