The golden age of airplane nose art came in World War II, when WWII aircraft art was in practice by both Axis and Allied airplanes. WWII aircraft art was done by professional civilian artists, talented amateur servicemen, and even Disney.
Here are images of WWII aircraft art and their airplane noses:
The nose art from Sentimental Journey which is a restored B17 flying Fortress flying out of Falcon Airfield in Mesa AZ.
Liberty Belle was the name of several individual Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses used in combat during World War II.
Info on “D-Day Doll” that’s listed below is from the Inland Empire Wing‘s website.
Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica California developed the C-53 from its famous DC-3 airliner at the request of the Army Air corps to fill the need for a paratroop carrier. 403 were built of all versions. S/N 42- 68830 was one of 159 “D” models and came off the assembly line on July 6, 1943. Most C-53’s assigned to the USAF trained with the 101st Airborne Screamin Eagles) and the 82nd Airborne (All-American).
At dawn on D-Day June 6, 1944 the “D-Day Doll” took the 101st Airborne into Normandy. Flying three missions over June 6th and 7th she became a seasoned combat veteran. Later missions included airborne drops in Holland, flying in supplies at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and in the final airborne drop at the Rhine River. Following the war she has had many civilian missions until her assignment to the Inland Empire Wing of the CAF where she has been restored back to military configuration and serves as a flying historical museum.
Close-up of the nose art on North American B-25J Mitchell, N8195H Heavenly Body
[Source: Goleta Air and Space Museum]
North American B-25J Mitchell, N30801 Executive Sweet has been a regular participant at airshows around southern California for over thirty years. It has been registered to the American Aeronautical Foundation of Thousand Oaks since 1985. Its Army Air Force serial number was 44-30801 and its North American construction number is 108-35126. It was converted to the TB-25N configuration before its retirement by the Air Force. It was registered as N3699G by Avery Aviation of Greybull, Wyoming in 1963. Filmways Inc. of Hollywood acquired it in 1968 for use in the movie Catch-22, in which it appeared as Vestal Virgin. Challenge Publications bought it in 1972 and changed its registration to N30801 in 1978.
[Source: Goleta Air and Space Museum]
Airplane nose art on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Texas Raiders” of the Gulf Coast Wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF)
[Image Source: Fine Art America]
Southern Comfort airplane nose art on a B-29
[Image Source: Sketchy Metal]
P-40s first saw combat with the British Commonwealth squadrons of the Desert Air Force in the Middle East and North African campaigns, during June 1941. No. 112 Squadron Royal Air Force, was among the first to operate Tomahawks in North Africa and the unit was the first Allied military aviation unit to feature the “shark mouth” logo, copying similar markings on some Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin-engine fighters.
Disney and Donald Duck go to war.
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