Sunday, May 29, 2016

Whence the Hornet?

I enjoy the few WWI flight films I can get my hands on. There aren't a lot of them, so I tend to cycle through the same films on a regular basis. After about the eighth time, I start to notice the finer details of the films. While watching Flyboys the other morning, I was struck by this moment as the pilots are painting their planes. Look at the logo this guy has painted on his plane.

That hornet. I'd seen it before. Seen it recently. That's right, on the side of Scotto's plane in Dawn Patrol:

They aren't exactly the same, but the hornet... didn't I remember the hornet insignia from somewhere else? Yes. In the Old Days, one method of copy protection on video games was to ask the user to refer to the manual. Identify a word or an illustration, because digital copying is easy, but it would take time to cop[y the entire, say, hundred page manual. But the hornet logo tickled something in my memory, and I went digging through my old manuals. Sure enough, there it was, on page 67 of the manual for Knights of the Sky, the hornet logo, identified as Escadrille N. 89. So I looked them up. There it was, closer to the two-legged hornet from Flyboys than cartoon one from Dawn Patrol, to my surprise. Escadrille N. 89 was a French unit, they even have their own web page. Escadrille n. 89 still exists and here you can find the hornet logo on Mirage jets.

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