Planes, Names & Dames, Vol. III: 1955-1975 (Aircraft Nose Art series 6068)
By Larry Davis, Don Greer
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1995 80 Pages
PDF 24 MB
Being a warbird enthusiast, this was one of many Squadron/Signal books I wanted to have in my collection. Though my current interest is specifically naval aviation, the vast majority of the photos in this book are of Air Force aircraft (indeed many are of F-105 "Thuds" which almost makes this a case of being able to judge a book by its cover). Less than a quarter (if even that many) are of naval aircraft, but this is still an interesting and enjoyable read.
My only real complaint is that the book was not organized in any way that could have made it easier to use as a reference such as by type of aircraft (fighters, bombers, helos, transports, etc.), era (late '50s, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam), or nose art theme (cartoon characters, girls, song titles, shark mouths, etc.). The photographs are just thrown together helter-skelter with no rhyme or reason.
The author, while certainly an expert on military aircraft, does not seem to know his rock music very well. For example, he labels "Hey Jude" by the Beatles (a name chosen by a pilot for his Vietnam-era Phantom II, page 35) as an "anti-war tune" which every Beatles fan knows it wasn't. "Mystery Ship" (on a UH-1 Huey, page 13) is described as "a popular song by the rock group The Doors." He was probably confusing it with their song "The Crystal Ship" and, besides, the helicopter's name more likely came from the lyrics of another popular song of the time, "Ride, Captain, Ride" by Blues Image.
Many of the photos were casual snapshots taken by crews in the field so they are not all of the greatest quality. In one case, there is a black-and-white photograph of the "Peanuts" character "Snoopy" on the intake of an F-4 Phantom II jet fighter on page 55 accompanied by a text description of the details that really causes you to strain your eyes to see. You later find a much clearer closeup (and in color) of the same art on the back cover of the book... would've been nice if Mr. Davis had told us to go there or if he had put the two pictures side-by-side!
This is still a good reference source for scale modelers and museum aircraft restorers (both of whom should be prepared to use bookmarks here big time) or just a good visual treat for anyone interested in military aviation in general. If anything, it gives a good glimpse into the minds of our fighting fliers in the turbulent days of the Cold War.