What Is the Significance Behind Military Aircraft Nose Art?


Quick Answer

Military aircraft nose art exists to personalize and humanize aircraft and to share the idea that air combat is chivalrous as well as deadly. Nose art is considered to be a modern form of heraldry.

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Full Answer

The first examples of aircraft nose art were during World War I when German fighter pilots, such as the Red Baron, painted entire planes. Pilots from other countries then began painting insignias and nose art on planes. After the United States entered WWI, American pilots began creating nose art that proclaimed the American cowboy, or frontier, spirit, such as kicking mules, wild buffalo, Uncle Sam hats and Native American heads. The practiced slowed after the war until the outbreak of World War II when it quickly reemerged.

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