Aero Space Museum - The Hangar Flight Museum | .Aero Space Museum of Calgary 1 Nose Art Pre-Visit:

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    Nose Art Pre-Visit:

    If your school has a motto or emblem, have students talk about what it represents and why most schools develop these. If not, have them create one of their own. Students might want to design one for their class.

    Materials Provided:

    Narrated PowerPoint - overview of nose art (Notes for PowerPoint supplied below.)

    Projector White board and pens

    School Supplied Materials:

    Journal or paper Writing/drawing implements

    At the Museum:

    Assemble the students in the Lancaster Room. Watch the PowerPoint presentation, stopping frequently to discuss. You can use

    the whiteboard to record their ideas. Have each student select a piece of nose art from the mezzanine, sketch it and

    write about why someone might choose this for their aircraft. Remind students that they can use the ideas generated earlier.

    Have each student generate their own piece of nose art and explain the reason for their choice.

    There are many items on the mezzanine that the students might want to investigate if time remains (ie. engines, propellers, nose art, model airplanes, street signs, videos of the Silver Dart and Stewart James Olsen Robinson). The mezzanine also provides an excellent birds eye view of the airplanes in the main hangar.

  • Aero Space Museum of Calgary


    PowerPoint Presentation

    The use of nose art began with the introduction of military aircraft in WWI and has been used, to some extent, ever since then. It reached its height during WWII when thousands and thousands of planes were produced. Aircrews did what they could to personalize their aircraft.

    Before coming to the museum you had a chance to talk about your schools motto, emblem or mascot. Just to get you thinking again, have a look at these mottos. What do they say about each of the schools? What do the graphics symbolize? Just as your schools developed their own mottos and emblems, many of those who served in wars created and painted nose art on their airplanes. Why do you think they might have done this? Stop the slide show and make a list. As we go through the rest of the slides, continue adding to your list.

    The Germans created very cocky nose art, making fun of the British. They stopped doing this after the Battle of Britain.

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    With the tables turnedthe British now began poking fun at Hitler.

    And when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, much of the nose art reflected it.

    See if you can figure out who Walter is. In 1918 he wanted to join the army but he was too young. So he joined the Red Cross and went to France where he drove ambulances. He painted French badges on the back of leather jackets for about 75 francs. Later, he began painting American images on airplanes.

  • Aero Space Museum of Calgary


    When Walter returned to the US he began creating cartoons. In 1939 the USS Wasp was built in San Diego. Walter created the crest for this. At the bottom are some of his other crests.

    If you havent recognized him yet Walter is Walt Disney. He created crests for all Canadian provinces except Quebec, NB, and PEI. Donald Duck was frequently used. Do you have any idea why? (got in your face, fighting spirit)

    Have you read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? This book, and many others, were written by Roald Dahl. Dahl was a pilot with the Royal Air Force in Britain. One on of his missions his plane went down in the Sahara Desert. He could no longer fly and was dispatched to Washington, D.C. as a military attach at the British Embassy. It was then that he began to write. During his term of service he shared many stories with his fellow RAF men about Gremlins mythical creatures who

    sabotaged flights. Indeed, when anything went wrong with an airplane, it was invariably blamed on a Gremlin. Needless to say, his first book was entitled, The Gremlins. Before it could be published, it needed to be approved by his superiors. As luck would have it, the man who headed the British Information Services in New York was a movie producer. Upon reading the script, he sent Dahls story to Walt Disney. Disney was very interested and invited Dahl to collaborate with him in producing a movie about the Gremlins. Sadly, this was never completed. Complete text at:

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    Not surprisingly, gremlins appear as nose art of many airplanes. In 1938 the Canadian government built an airfield in Calgary at Currie Barracks. The 316 Hurricane was flown from Vancouver to Calgary on June 2, 1939. Have a look at the crest for the 401 squadron. What is it? Why do you think they used this? (Bighorn sheep - maybe because it was flown over the mountains.)

    Crests were originally created for jackets and then found their way onto nose art. Matt Ferguson painted over 30 fighters. He always drew a maple leaf behind his nose art. Ferguson painted this bomb, An Easter Egg for Hitler, which was later dropped on an oil refinery in Germany.

    Do you recall traveling along McKnight Boulevard on your trip to the museum today? It is named in honour of Flying Officer William Lidstone McKnight, another Calgarian, who was killed in action in 1941. McKnight painted skeletons on his planes. You can read more about him on the road signs on the mezzanine.

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    So now that you know a bit more about nose art, you should understand some of the reasons why those who served during the war painted it on their airplanes. Pause for another moment and add to the list you started at the beginning of these slides. When you are finished, go on to the next slide and see how many you were able to discover.