NOSE ART

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MORAL BOOSTING
GOOD LUCK CHARMS 

Ever since men first went to war in airplanes, they have felt the need to decorate their machines with unofficial, often banned and personal markings. So-called Nose Art created a powerful bond between man and machine. Pilots wanted to see their airplanes as almost human entities with which they could identify. Especially when they faced danger, they even wanted to endow their war-birds with superhuman qualities to protect them and bring them safely back.

The images, mostly those on historic aircraft, were morale-boosting, good-luck charms, and also reminders of a pilot’s personal life, hobbies, characteristics, and much more. Often they had political meaning as well, with a propaganda purpose, or served as a way to mock the enemy. The practice of decorating the sides of an aircraft with pictures and words did not always have official approval.