SpainSpanish Air Force (Ejercito del Aire Espanol)
1911 to 1931
From the very beginnings of Spanish military aviation in 1911, the national
markings applied to all of its machines consisted of red-yellow-red wing roundels and fin
flash with the national flag colours.
1931 to 1936
With the proclamation of the Spanish Republic in 1931, the colour of the lower
stripe of the national flag was changed from red to purple. This alteration was also
reflected on the national markings of Spanish military aircraft.
Example: de Havilland DH.84/89/90 Dragon/Dragon Rapide/Dominie
The width and size of the rudder stripes varied according to aircraft type, and
sometimes the fin flash only partially covered the rudder surfaces.
Example: Breguet Br.19
1945 to 1939
Shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, and following several
'friendly fire' incidents, an order was issued by General Franco's HQ on 9 August 1936,
according to which all Nationalist aircraft were to cover up their roundels with black
paint, and the fin flash in white with a superimposed black St. Andrew's cross. Later on,
the wings' black disks also received a white cross in order to improve their visibility
under dawn or dusk conditions.
Example: Heinkel He.70/He.170
It was very common among Nationalist pilots to paint personal emblems on the
fuselage black disks, most of the times in contrasting white paint. The commonest of them
was this semi-official yoke-and-arrows Falangist emblem.
Example: Messerschmitt Bf.109B/C/D Bertha/Caesar/Dora
Fuselage and wings
For the same security (and also political) reasons, the Republican side, while
retaining the prewar tricolour fin flash in their aircraft, began covering up the wing
roundels with red bands very early in the war. The size and width of these red bands
varied wildly according to aircraft type, batch, or the painter's personal taste.
Sometimes, they were extended right up to the wingtips, while others almost covered the
entire fuselage length from cockpit to tail.
Example: Polikarpov I-15/I-152 (I-15bis)
Although usually deleted from the vast majority of Republican aircraft, tricolour
roundels continued to be used (in combination with red bands) by certain prewar types
through-out the entire war period.
1939 to 1945
After the end of the war, and with the re-creation of the Spanish Ejercito del
Aire [Air Army] in November of 1939, new national markings were introduced. The old
bicolour wing roundels substituted the wartime black disks with white crosses, but the
fuselage and tail markings remained those of the Nationalist side. The only change was
the red Falangist emblem, the symbol of the regime, applied (though not always) on the
fuselage black disks from 1942.
Example: Heinkel He.112
1945 to Present
Fuselage and wings
Around 1945, the yoke-and-arrows emblem was finally deleted in favour of a roundel
with the national colours. This combination is still in use today, althogh the modern
lower visibility requirements have seen the markings drastically reduced in size.
Example: Lockheed F-80/P-80 Shooting Star
Example: Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
by Stephen Sender
Last update: 05/08/2013