Q. We are a supplier of component parts for various industries and are attempting to re-enter the aircraft industry. Most of our proposed products will be applied directly to aircraft on the assembly line. Consequently, the paint finish we apply must match and comply with the builder’s specifications. In the time period since we left the aircraft market, there have been many changes in the composition of aircraft paints. Can you provide me with a list of non-chrome paints that have been approved for use by the various companies in that industry? I don’t really want to go directly to the aircraft manufacturers, as we are quoting on this work against other suppliers. Do you know of anyone who looks at the environmental side of coatings whom I could contact for the latest information?—G.K.
A. Unfortunately, I don’t have the kind of specific information you need. Furthermore, each aircraft manufacturer could have a different set of finish specifications. If they are building military aircraft, however, they would have to comply with Mil Specs. I don’t know anyone who can help you except the aircraft manufacturers themselves. I see nothing wrong with contacting the customer about information for quotations. If you are responding to an RFP, they probably expect you to ask questions. Furthermore, from a purely business standpoint, I am sure they would welcome competing bids from other component suppliers.