Vintage Aircraft Nose Art

| October 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

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While World War I nose art was usually fancy squadron insignias, true nose art appeared during World War II, and is considered by many to be the golden age of the genre with both Axis and Allied pilots taking part.

At the height of the war, nose-artists were in very high demand in the USAAF and were paid quite well for their services while AAF commanders tolerated nose art in an effort to boost aircrew morale. The U.S. Navy, by contrast, prohibited nose art, and it was uncommon in the RAF or RCAF.

Featured Vintage Aircraft Nose Art


Source material for American nose art was varied and ranged from pinups like Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable to cartoon characters like Donald Duck and Popeye. Also popular were patriotic characters like Yankee Doodle and fictional heroes like Sam Spade.

Lucky symbols such as dice and playing cards were also popular nose art, along with other cartoon characters and references to mortality such as the Grim Reaper. Cartoons and pinups were most popular among American artists, but other works included animals, nicknames, hometowns, and popular song and movie titles.

Some nose art and slogans imposed contempt to the enemy, especially to enemy leaders. The farther the planes and crew were from headquarters or from the public eye, the racier the art tended to be. There are some great sites that include lots of pictures and examples of nose art. Check out Ace for some classics and try Wikipedia for more on the history of nose art.

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Category: Pinup Girls, Vintage

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