The Phantom Nose Art On USAAF Aircraft

Posted on the World War Pictures Facebook page, we find a post featuring Aircraft Nose Art.

Aircraft Nose Art is usually found on the front fuselage of an aircraft, taking the form of an image or pattern. Depending on the skills of the artist applying the illustration, the art seen cover a large spectrum from basic to highly detailed.

Nose Art is generally found on military aircrafts, with the practice believed to date back to the 1910’s with Italian and German pilots credited to be amongst the first to decorate their planes in this way.

The reason for the Nose Art is believed to have been popular during war times, as it sets a particular aircraft and pilot aside from the next, with military vehicles traditionally mirroring each other with no real distinguishable features. It was also a great way for pilots to quickly distinguish between those who are friends and those who are enemies in the air.

The World War Pictures Facebook post shows us an example of in-excess of 30 Nose Art images, with a caption written by Ian Phillips.

Ian gives us a little context on the images in the post:

Nose Art photographed on USAAF aircraft flying the air transport route between Brazil and North Africa – 1943.

We’re also informed on the motivation for the images created as Nose Art:

The common themes were Vargas-style pin-ups (often quite risqué!)…wives & sweethearts…hometowns…popular cartoon characters…gung-ho names etc., invariably done with a degree of panache and wit!

The Phantom is featured in the Facebook post on one of the images, shown above, sourced from LIFE Magazine Archives, with the Photographer noted as Thomas Mcavoy.

The image depicts a profile image of the Phantom below the heading ‘The Phantom’, which is underlined by a thunderbolt. The 1943 photo has been taken in black and white.

The read the full post on Facebook, click HERE