During the lifetime of aircraft structures, paint removal and re-application cycles are conducted to restore appearance and to enable inspection for fatigue cracks and corrosion damages. Current paint removals processes, including chemical and abrasive media blasting, yield large amounts of volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants, and generate large quantities of waste which require proper disposal/treatment. They also have the potential to mask surface cracks and decrease the effectiveness of Liquid Penetrant Inspections (LPI). This study compares current paint stripping methods to a novel Atmospheric Plasma (AP) system, which claims to be a more environmentally friendly method. Aluminium and steel coupons were prepared with military aircraft quality topcoat and primer paint schemes and subjected to the three aforemen-tioned paint stripping processes. The results were then characterized in terms of paint removal effectiveness, potential damages to the metallic substrates, and effect on the LPI process. Hardness and conductivity measurements as well as metallographic sectioning and microscopy, were used to characterize the stripped samples. The results indicated that AP had no negative ramifications on detecting fatigue cracks in the substrates, and did not alter the temper, mechanical properties of the aerospace alloys studied. The AP process has the potential to replace current hazardous and less environmentally friendly paint removal methods; though a full systematic qualification and evaluation process is still required for it to be considered as an accepted industrial paint removal process.