It’s the Wrong Stripes!

Aircraft markings seem to be rather a challenge to understand at times, and are easily misinterpreted. They are a design and aesthetic choice, as well as being a political recognition and heraldry concept as well.


This ‘executive desktop model’ made from mahogany will set you back around US $300 on eBay. It’s not bad, but the designers have made an odd choice for the base, using a fin-flash style tricolour, rather than the usual roundel. As represented, those three colours arranged that way are really owned by the French flag, and thus shouldn’t be used for other purposes (the aircraft, is, of course, British).

Originally, at around the same time of the adoption of the roundel, rudder stripes were also used as a means of national identification (as seen here) later moving forward onto the fin, and being shortened so they become a simple three colour block. Pretty much universal through World War Two, they gradually have been less and less used, and a national flag often being used instead in that position, leading to the question as to why that British Commonwealth aircraft has a French flag on the tail.

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

“It’s the wrong trousers, Grommit! And they’ve gone wrong!”

Link to the current eBay sale page, screencap below.


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