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What is Nose Art?

Nose Art, is a term used to describe the colourful decorations sometimes found on the noses of military aircraft, and which began appearing during the First World War. The most frequently painted subjects were pin-ups, cartoon characters and often sharks’mouths.

Civilian professional painters, or service men with an artistic bent, carried out these works of art in the customization of aircraft, and thus helped to boost the moral of pilots and crews whilst on missions.

The first paintings on military aircraft were carried out by Italian and German pilots during the First World War, and above all during the Second World War, when Nose Art peaked. Numerous fighters and US bombers were also, at that time, adorned with these ever more colourful images.

Today, some airlines allow a certain amount of marketing and artistic freedom on their commercial aircraft. This is the case for example, with the All Nippon Airways B787 and its Star Wars inspired livery, a Brussels Airlines A320 paying homage to Tintin, and the Eva Air, Hello Kitty B777.

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