Many visitors have said how much they enjoy the Helicopter Art page on this site, so we have now added to the aviation content with these Fixed Wing Aircraft Art samples. More will be added in due course, so keep scrolling-down.

Given Peter's appreciation of helicopters, this page should perhaps be called "Fixed-Rotor Aircraft". However, fixed-wing (planes) have been a part of Peter's life and art for several decades. Once again, through friends and colleagues in the business, he has been lucky enough to experience cockpit trips on airliners, notable first and last flights for certain types and a memorable trip on a military tanker: all have left lasting impressions.

From the obvious thrill of awesome fast-jets to the humble drone of turbo-prop regional airliners and old piston types, Peter has found interesting and creative qualities which can be brought-out through art.

 

Halifax Moonlit landing

 

REMEMBERING THE AIRCREW OF WORLD WAR TWO.

With Peter's art often focusing on present day aviation subjects, there have been a few excursions recently back to earlier times. These include a DC3 and this scene entitled "Misty Moonlit Landing" of a Halifax bomber returning to an East of England airfield. It was painted for someone whose father flew as a crew-member on the type during World War Two. The painting captures the blues and purples of the moonlit night, the mist so reminiscent of the East Yorkshire and East Anglia airfields but also a warmth signifying safe homecoming. For this would have been 1944 and the Halifax crews' brave efforts would soon be rewarded.

 

"CAT IN THE BASKET" - REFUELING A JAGUAR.

One of the great advantages of big jets is that they allow us to experience views of our world from thousands of feet up. This new dimension often brings its own stunning special-effects. In this scene of Jaguar aircraft refueling from a VC10 tanker over the North Sea, we are able to take-in the full panorama of the sun reflecting on the sea surface. The crews are alas, probably too preoccupied to appreciate the view.

 

"Cat in the basket"
 

 

FLYING SCULPTURE.

Some of the most iconic flying machines have been those built as fighters and high-speed interceptors. Indeed many such types are almost pieces of art in their own right and form iconic shapes when static. However, as with other aviation subjects tackled on this site, it is when they are powered-up that they have the ability to change the atmosphere around them. The Earth-shattering sound of a jet fighter cannot be captured in art but many of those other facets such as wing-tip vortices and condensation trails breaking over the flying surfaces; shimmering exhaust plumes and glowing after-burners, make these some of the most visually stunning machines mankind has created.

Swedish sensation: the Saab Draken.

 

King of the Road
 

 

Surely one of the most attractive aircraft ever invented. The iconic Draken from Sweden, with its sleek double-delta wing profile, was at the cutting-edge on the Cold War front-line. Designed as a rapid-response interceptor against possible Soviet threats, the Draken was often hidden in remote hangars in the wilds and launched from roads. Its rugged construction and ease of servicing allowed such specialized operations. However, the Draken was no rustic "off-roader" and it is claimed that among contemporaries it was second only to the English Electric Lightning in terms of rate-of-climb, with stunning performance and an advanced radar. The idea that one could be in the conifers of northern Scandinavia and suddenly witness one of these forest dragons breathing its fire down a closed public road appealed. Peter worked the idea into a Quick Reaction Alert take-off with steep rotation and the aircraft about to demonstrate that rate-of-climb for which the sleek Saab was famed. The aircraft is transforming the scenery around it: powdered snow lifts from the roadside, dust is thrown-up from the surface and puddles of melt-water ripple with the deep roar of the engine. The full glow of re-heat reflects from the nozzle. The dragon is about to rise from its forest lair to surprise any hostile intruder.

Easy Tiger.

Like the Draken, the agile Northrop F-5E Tiger 2 has to be one of the most beautiful aircraft of all time ...indeed, perhaps one of the most stunning inventions of all time. Originally designed in the late 1950s as a light-weight, twin-engined machine for sale to America's allies, the earliest version - the F5A Freedom Fighter - went on to sell vast numbers internationally. Its sound aerodynamics gave it wonderful manoeuvrability in a dogfight. Being equipped with cannon, it could use traditional firepower, which had been denied to many fighters of that era when it was thought missiles would supersede guns. This proved a mistake which came to light in the Vietnam War and led to the formation of the famous Top Gun training school for fighter pilots. Ironically, the F-5 would go on to serve these US Navy Top Gun units for many years forming the famous "Aggressor Squadrons". The US Air Force bought another development of the design, the T-38 Talon and still uses them in the training role, with no immediate replacement in sight and many units still operating. Any potential replacements, when they do eventually emerge, are unlikely to match its speed.

The F-5E is a veritable sports-car of the air and despite decades in service, it still looks great. Indeed, it always appears like it's roaring along even when standing still. Peter's quick pastel sketch of the a USAF aggressor squadron example once based at Alconbury in the UK, shows the aircraft turning tightly over the coast of East Anglia. The aircraft were painted in unusual liveries, often representing those of potential threats.

 

Sky Sportscar

 

 

That ability of fast jets to affect the surrounding atmosphere is perfectly summed-up in the name Mirage. The classic range of French combat aircraft from Avions Marcel Dassault evolved into many interesting designs, most featuring the trademark delta wing. Of these, perhaps the ultimate development was the Mirage 2000. Leading-edge slats (droops) make the wing adaptable and allow good combat manoeuvring. In this literally quick illustration of a Mirage 2000N climbing away from a low-level sortie, Peter has captured the speed and grace of this incredibly sleek aircraft. Of course, we are all aware of the awesome destructive potential of such a machine in the wrong hands but that doesn't detract from their iconic shape; or their ability to help maintain the peace in an uncertain world.

 

Mirage 2000N aircraft
 

 

 

Shining example.

It's not only the sleek steeds of the military jet-jockeys that make interesting subjects for art. Often quite mundane scenes, when studied closely, have a radiance that is just asking to be rendered in a certain way on paper or canvas. Peter has always had a keen interest in civil aviation and was intrigued by the reflections from this Fokker F100 jet airliner, which gave it the texture of some WW2 fighters. It made a great study for a pencil-sketch.

 

Riveting subject