Photos above by Søren Augustesen (Thanks Søren!) and LEE (Thanks LEE!)
After the somewhat disappointing outcome of the Lynx project the year before, I had my doubts if I would ever see my designs on an aircraft again. But in the spring of 2018 yet another competition was issued by the Danish Air Show. As the air show was being held in Aalborg, the home of the Air Transport Wing, this time the competition was to decorate one of their VIP transports/Surveillance aircraft: A Canadair Challenger.
The competition dictated that the paint scheme had to reflect the Unity of the Realm (Rigsfælleskabet) which includes Denmark, The Feroe Islands and Greenland.
This time around I had a pretty clear vision of what direction I wanted to go. With the Lynx I already had developed a certain style, which I thought might fit this project. The idea behind the style was to use only very few shades of a color (three or four), and have those colors define shades and highlights. The idea was that with so few colors you would get a more graphical feel of the paint scheme up close, but from a far it´ll look more “photo-real”.
With an idea already brewing I started drawing, and it didn´t take long before I realized that i had to make the port and starbord side different in order for the final piece not to look to busy. I settled on a Polar Bear on one side and a Eurasian Oystercatcher (the Faroe Islands national bird) on the other.
The background was a different story: I wanted to take design cues form the aircrafts “standard” paint scheme. The dark grey background was a great color for a polar night, so I decided to keep it dark grey, and only adding a slight gradient to lighten the color toward the bottom of the vertical stabilizer.
I knew I wanted a danish flag on the rudder too, and I settled on a waving flag that tapered toward the leafing edge of the stabilizer. Last but not least I decided to enchance the polar night symbolic by adding two star constellations to the tail. On the starbord side “The Greenland side”, I added the big dipper, since that constellation is only visible from the northen hemisphere. Since two stars in the big dipper points toward the northen star, that one was added to the very tip of the vertical stabilizer. That eventually gave rise to some trouble for the good people at Transport Wing Aalborg, since that area contains a emitter or transmitter unit, which would be less effective if a plastic foil was covering the surface. That resulted in the part of the design that were above the vertical stabilizers, would be cut off, and that ment cutting of the northen star too. However, when the aircraft (C-080) was unveiled at Danish Air Show 2018, there was infact a northern star in place. The pressofficer at Transport Wing Aalborg liked the idea of a northern star so much, that he had a star cut out and added to the top of the vertical stabilizer. It was removed shorty after, but for a brief moment the design was complete.
On the port side “the Faroe Islands side” I added the Cassiopeia constellation, as that too is a constellation that is only visible from the northern hemisphere.
The piece was done, but i couldn´t help myself from trying out a few other ideas, which resulted in suggestion nr. 2 (below).
As it turned out my suggestion won the competition won by getting the most “likes” on facebook, and in July 2018 the design was applied to C-080. The squadron gave me a ride-along in C-080, where I got to meet the extremely nice crew and I got a glimpse of what work aboard a patrol plane was like.