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Additional Images
Primary Object
Photograph of B-29 with Mission Inn nose art
Title/Object Name
Composite Photograph
Circa 1950 – 1952
Photographic paper
8"h x 10"w
Artifact Descriptions
This photograph is actually a combination of four photographs. In the upper left is a photograph of the Mission Inn B-29 in flight. Below that is an aerial photo of the Mission Inn Hotel. In the lower right photograph the ground can be seen, including an explosion. The upper right photograph shows the MIssion Inn B-29 with 16 military men in the foreground. It is presumed that these men were the flight and ground crews. The typical size of a B-29 flight crew was 10-11 men.
Artifact Origin Map
Origin Unknown
The Collections Aviation | Aircraft Nose Art
Aircraft Nose Art

Updated: January 29, 2007

ose art was common on Army Air Corps (later Air Force) aircraft during WWII and the Korean Conflict. Images from cartoons, comic strips and pin up calendars served as good luck charms on the noses of planes as pilots took on opposing forces. Planes were given colorful names to match the art, such as Bub, What’s Up Doc, Sad Sac, Eager Beaver, Memphis Belle, Scrappy, Shady Lady; one B-29 was even named the Mission Inn. Double meanings which placed the enemy in a negative light were often contained within the art. The nose art on the "Mission Inn" B-29 featured a bomb targeting a soldier as he ran toward a wooden sign announcing the NORTH 38th PARALLEL (the line dividing North and South Korea).

The size of the aircraft dictated the style and form of the nose art. The B-29 was the largest plane in use at the times; the nose art on the “Mission Inn” was approximately 10 feet in width. Nose art was not confined to the plane itself—it was often reproduced on the crews’ uniforms, including the pilots’ leather flight jackets, coloring many aspects of Air Corps life.

Online Links & Resources

22nd Bombardment Group
The Pima Air and Space Museum
13th Bomb Squadron
Jacket Art
Military Aircraft Nose Art: An American Tradition
Nose Art Luc's Photo Hangar
Memphis Belle Memorial Association

Selected Bibliography

Archer, Robert D. and V. G. Archer. (1997). USAAF Aircraft Markings and Camouflage 1941-1947. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing.

Brown, David F. (1993). Birds of Prey: Aircraft, Nose Art & Mission Markings of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing.

Campbell, John M. and Campbell, Donna. (1992). Talisman: A Collection of Nose Art. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History.

Davis, Larry and Greer, Don. (1990). Planes, Names & Dames Vol.II 1946-1960. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications.

Ethell, Jeffrey L. (2003). Aircraft Nose Art: From World War I to Today. St. Paul, MN: Motorbooks International.

Ethell, Jeffrey L. (1992). Shark's Teeth Nose Art. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International.

Ethell, Jeffrey L. (1993). World War II Nose Art in Color. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International.

Fochuck, Stephen M. (2000) Metal Canvas: Canadians & WWII Aircraft Nose Art. Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada: Vanwell Pub.

Maguire, Jon A. and Conway, John P. (1995). Art of the Flight Jacket Classic Leather Jackets of World War II. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

Sharpe, Mike, Tim Laming, and Michael Sharpe. (1998). Aviation Art. Berkeley, CA: Thunder Bay Press.

Walker, Randy. (1992). Painted Ladies: Modern Military Aircraft Nose Art & Unusual Markings. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

Wood, J. P. (1992). Airplane Nose Art: Over 350 Paintings on Aircraft. McDonough, GA: Crescent Publishing.

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