A fascinating story here. Decorative art on aircraft (usually called ‘nose art’, though for obvious reasons not quite appropriate here) is nothing unusual, but the story behind this, current scheme is, I think, unique. Plenty of art has been copied, or created for a unit by all sorts of people from unit personnel to Disney studios, but I’m not aware of a current scheme being found and requested from an independent artist’s existing portfolio by the unit personnel.
This painting of ‘Diana the Huntress’ on a Dutch Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF, Kon Luchtmacht) Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II of the 323 Test & Evaluation Squadron (TES) is a striking artwork, despite the low viz tones used. The unit’s heritage of previous fighter types, from the bottom, Gloster Meteor, Hawker Hunter, Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, and General Dynamics F-16 are shown below the current F-35 planform. Based in the USA, their motto is “Impetu Feroci” – ‘fearless in attack.’
However the origin of the artwork is fascinating, as presented by the artist’s own Twitter feed, and this article here. The artist is 26 year old Christy Tortland, who unsurprisingly is over the moon to have had an original artwork of hers selected, with her agreement, to decorate the tail of their latest machine. She says:
My artwork “Diana: Goddess of the Hunt” – painted on a Dutch F-35… I will never be over this! Thank you a million times over to the 323 TES of the RNLAF for this insanely incredible honor!!
James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.