Sunday, February 3, 2019

F-16 nose art of the 56th TTW

Nose art has been seen on many aircraft types over the years, but less so on the F-16 for some reason. True, there was the flurry of art we saw during the Gulf War on Vipers from the 17th TFS, and a decade later a few Vipers of the 389th FS sported some very elaborate art upon their deployment to the war in Afghanistan. But compared to other aircraft types, the F-16 hasn’t been a canvas for much art.

Thanks to my membership in a Facebook group, I discovered nose art on an F-16 from the 56th TTW in 1990. These drawings were added to F-16C 87-0256 when it was assigned to the 61st TFTS during a TDY deployment to Tyndall AFB. (This particular airframe served at the 56th’s “Wing King,” which you can see in this image on Flikr.) What I find interesting is this artwork was added literally to the nose of the aircraft; the artwork added to the 17th and 389th aircraft was added below and behind the canopy.

I reached out to JC Berlan, the aircraft’s assistant crew chief during the deployment, and he told me that this first version of the artwork — depicting a rooster doing something terribly inappropriate to a dog — was allegedly drawn by someone from the 19th TFS. The F-16s from MacDill shared the flightline with the 19th just long enough for someone to add the risqué artwork when no one was looking.


Aviation enthusiasts and patch collectors will recall that a rooster is seen on the emblem of the 19th TFS. The dog represents the iconic bulldog on the 61st TFTS emblem, an image that goes back to the 56th FG during World War Two.


After the artwork was discovered, JC modified it by erasing everything except the eyes of the dog and replacing it with image of the shark about to consume an F-15, an aircraft in service at the time with Tyndall’s 325th TTW. By this point, he said, the 19th had returned to Shaw AFB, so presumably there was no reason to throw shade back in their direction. “Panama City 1990” commemorates the team’s brief deployment to Tyndall, and "Shark Bite" was a term the crew got from Club La Vela on Panama City Beach.


JC said the commander allowed the aircraft to return to MacDill with the artwork. It was quickly removed when they landed, because the aircraft was nominated for, and won, Proud Falcon, a program that recognized the Crew Chief of the Month.

Leave it to pilots and their maintainers to have a good time taking jabs at each other!

My thanks to JC Berlan for the information and to Rob Seibert for the photos. The 19th and 61st squadron patches are from my own collection.

1 comment:

  1. Those with kids will b acquainted with the third kind of nasal damage - that is, blockage of the entry because of inclusion of outside articles into the nose. "nose hair trimmer reviews

    ReplyDelete