Almost all cockpit panels of Russian aircraft types are painted in turquoise, whereas elsewhere the cockpit panels usually exhibit a dark grey color. As this "rule" seems to be quite prevalent, I am curious as to the reason/origin.

This can be seen in the cockpit of Mikoyan MiG-31:

MiG-31 cockpit
Image Source

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    $\begingroup$ I just noticed that this aircraft has the white stripe down the center of the instrument panel. - I have heard that pilots are trained to "put the stick on the stripe" as part of the spin recovery procedure. $\endgroup$ – A. I. Breveleri Apr 8 '18 at 16:44

According to Cold War Air Museum:

...the color chosen by Soviet designers helps to reduce stress and maintain a pilot's effectiveness on long missions.

... the scientists found out that this color keeps pilots awake and not getting tired by the black or grey of a cockpit panel, especially under terms and condition of long range flights or under heavy work load.

This URL contains a color guide for cockpits.

  • $\begingroup$ McDonnell-Douglas also used this color on the DC-9/MD-80. upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/DC-9_Cockpit.jpg $\endgroup$ – Sports Racer Jun 30 '15 at 15:57
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    $\begingroup$ Now, I hope this will spawn the obvious opposite question. $\endgroup$ – O. R. Mapper Jun 30 '15 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ @O.R.Mapper It did. $\endgroup$ – Lilienthal Jul 1 '15 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ Any word on exactly what date this was taken up? MiG-15's in the Korean war? $\endgroup$ – DrZ214 Oct 2 '15 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ @DrZ214: The interior of a Korean war era MiG-15 cockpit was mostly a sort of light battleship grey, shading a little toward sky-blue. The instrument panel was matte, almost flat, black, and the default color for the instrument faces was black with white indices and dials. - I think the MiG-17 got the modern turquoise interior. $\endgroup$ – A. I. Breveleri Dec 16 '16 at 16:30

Soviet defector and MiG-25 Pilot Viktor Belenko claimed that this was done because it was found to be more soothing and relaxing for the flight crew to operate in a blue-green painted cockpit. This color was very common in both Russian military and civilian aircraft during the Cold War era.

I’m not sure but I suspect Boeing did the same thing when choosing the light earth color for their jetliner cockpits.


the real reason is tactical lighting. not all russian aircraft have the turquoise/jade colors cockpits. use red lights for tactical night operation, and very little light can be seen out from the cockpits. russian helicopters and cargo that are design to operate in tactical night ops have also this feature.

  • $\begingroup$ So turquoise would reflect less red light than other cockpit colors ? $\endgroup$ – tssch Dec 25 '15 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ Sources would improve this answer. BTW the least reflective color is black, but I believe additives can be added to any paint to make it shinier, or conversely, not added. $\endgroup$ – DrZ214 Dec 16 '16 at 21:06

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