Air & Space Smithsonian - - Front Page -

Not ex­actly nose art

HOW DO YOU MAKE MIL­I­TARY AIR­CRAFT MORE BADASS? Shayne Meder, now re­tired from the U.S. Air Force, was sta­tioned at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base in Michi­gan in 1987 when she re­al­ized she could make the air­planes she walked past ev­ery day a whole lot cooler with a lit­tle paint. With her team of vol­un­teers at Fly­girl­painters, she has painted nose art on big bombers like the B-52 and B-17 (be­low, left), but her spe­cialty has be­come the MH-60 Sea­hawk— she’s painted more than 40. For U.S. Navy He­li­copter Sea Com­bat Squadron 15, the Red Li­ons, Meder wanted to give them “some­thing dif­fer­ent and eye-pop­ping,” she says of the lion in flames stream­ing from the tail (op­po­site), which took seven days to com­plete. “It’s im­por­tant to the sailors that their bird is a re­flec­tion of them and their courage and team­work.”

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