Stuff, a Vietnam War Crusader

Ever since pilots started painting pictures of women on their airplanes they’ve been inspired by the great pin-up artists of their times. World War II era nose art painters for instance regularly copied the work of Alberto Vargas and George Petty.

Playboy was the best-known girlie magazine of the 1960s. Playboy pin-ups and “Bunny” imagery graced many US military aircraft flying in the skies over Vietnam such as Stuff, the Vought F-8E Crusader presented here.

If you appreciate the art and aesthetic of aeronautical design you cannot deny that the Crusader is a beauty. She was designed to do one thing, shoot down enemy planes, and she has been described by aviation historians as the US Navy’s last pure gunfighter. The aircraft that eventually replaced the F-8 were big, multi-role designs able to carry as heavy a weapons load as a WW II bomber. US Navy fighters that followed the F-8 were capable but they lacked her elegant lines; the era of the beautiful navy fighter ended with the Crusader.

Sources: a Russian aviation journal; History of Aircraft Nose Art, WW I to Today