Warplane nose art consigned to history books?

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Mark Wagner – Aviation Images©

Someone once said that behind every great man is a great woman and as a morale booster for RAF fighter pilots (assuming they are men) these women come painted on the noses of warplanes wearing killer heels and, increasingly, not much else.

The Daily Mail reported on Wednesday (6th June) how the “risque images” of these cartoon women with their “deadly charm”, that have decorated warplanes since the First World War are to be scrubbed out.

A famous example is the Memphis Belle, a US Army Air Force B-17 bomber that inspired a 1990 Hollywood movie.

memphis.jpgThe Ministry of Defence suggests these could offend RAF’s female 5,400-strong contingent, even though there have been no complaints recorded.

There was also concern that they could cause offence while fighting in the Middle East, particularly in Afghanistan, a Muslim country where, until 2001 and under the Taliban, all women were forced to wear the head-to-toe burkha in public.

The images have changed over the years and have been getting racier as the ladies appear in a variety of provocative positions and a range of saucy attire that have been the reserve of the topshelf of your local newsagent.



What do you think of the images?

Should they be scrapped or is it another case of the government treading on eggshells to be politically correct?

Have your say – comment on this post …

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9 Responses to Warplane nose art consigned to history books?

  1. John Price 8 June, 2007 at 4:37 pm #

    Don’t blame “the government” for this idiocy – it’s probably some underemployed brown-noser in MoD trying to earn brownie points by their shiny political correctness.
    Someone should apply a severe “Power 8″ to MinDef to root out idiots like this and do something constructive to replace the historic aiorcraft now in what once was Transport Command.

  2. Michael the conservative1 8 June, 2007 at 5:41 pm #

    While I might be Conservative and think that the free experession is in many instances bad tast, I suspect that they should require some standard of clothing. THough probably less than I desire.
    In a muslim nation it might be best to require full clothing. That would be funy to see. Maybe someone should do some mockups of that

  3. Solomon M 8 June, 2007 at 6:45 pm #

    Don’t let women who are offended by the art join the RAF. Problem solved.

  4. Andrew Hubert von Staufer 8 June, 2007 at 6:56 pm #

    Utterly ridiculous. The majority of women I have met in all the services right back to the wartime generation, are robust, possessed with a good sense of humour and to some extent indulgent of men’s little foibles.

    As for the Moslem reaction, if they are being bombed, they are hardly likely to dislike any aircraft less if it hasn’t any nose art. Mind you some of the comments passed on women, overheard in Urdu, Arabic, Farsi and Malay make nose art seem very tame by comparison.

    Admittedly some so called ‘art’ goes beyond any sense of good taste, I am thinking of an F105 during the Vietnam war that had a lady’s legs splayed most inelegantly astride the pod & boom refuelling receptacle. In all probability it should be a field commander’s judgement call and leave it at that.

  5. Matt Celmer 10 June, 2007 at 3:29 pm #

    Those paintings have been on airplanes for 50 years, why start taking them off now? They’er a part of history and are an artfomr unique unto itself. Shame on the MoD, especially since there has yet to be a complaint about the matter from the RAF.

  6. Yago 11 June, 2007 at 4:22 am #

    Pfff… Pathetic

  7. John Price 12 June, 2007 at 11:53 am #

    For the history books – “PC” actually hit the RAF many years ago, perhaps back in the ’60s, when a perfectly good tune to which the “General Salute, Present Arms” was marched. To it, under your breath of course, you could sing “Stand by your beds/ Here comes the Air Vice Marshal / He’s got bags of rings, / But he’s only got one a******e”. Nice bit of (perhaps) affectionate underdogs’ humour, which a post-war generation of softies had replaced by a “terribly symbolic” piece with twirly fluties to represent Spitfires and a spot of booming for Lancasters. Or siomething.
    Of course, and by Their Airships’ command, it was unsingable and totally unmemorable. But it also lasted the regulation 18(?) paces – and while you were advancing to the “new and correct” tune, you could still hum the old one to yourself, and thus stop on time.
    There was a time when Their Airships could take a joke, and it evaporated when they decreed that “We’re now a peacetime Air Force” – with more decoration than firepower but, to use the modern term, “Fritefly PC”.

  8. David Jefferis 12 June, 2007 at 9:32 pm #

    Root out the concave wetties responsible for this nonsense and place them on a month’s scrub-and-polish duties for being a waste of space.

  9. dennis moore 13 June, 2007 at 4:23 pm #

    Excuse me- how many islamic women are running around airbases in the middle east? I don’t remember any protests from Saudi pilots during the Gulf War about “Emma” “Foxy Lady” “Laser Lips Laura” or other such magnificent works of art. I also don’t remember my father telling me of any WAAF’s taking offence to the topless woman on the side of his Handley Page Halifax when with No. 4 group up in Yorkshire 60+ years ago. This is political correctness gone insane- it is totally assinine.

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