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david leigh-smith
283 articles

No ship, Sherlock.

February 28, 2019 · in Photo Collections · · 30 · 2.8K

While collecting files for the ‘...' series I have frequently came across photos of aircraft who, for different reasons, landed on the wrong carrier. Tradition dictates that the offending pilot's ride gets a new coat of paint to show off when he gets back to his home ship.

My particular favourite Is the ‘Colonial Navy' phantom.

Hope you enjoy...

Reader reactions:
16  Awesome

30 responses

  1. Me thinks it's called zapping, of which I participated in a little, don't have photos though. Here's one for the R.N.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  2. Definitely not USMC colours...

  3. David, I'm not surprised by your preference. The whole thing is very English, after all--understated vs. the gaudy graffiti of the American counterparts.

  4. What a laugh! The Colonial Navy is a real English humour example, but my favourite is the “must be Airforce” plane (Panther? Cougar? Definitly a Grumman)

  5. The look on the pilots face on aircraft 408 is classic!

  6. Very interesting (and comical) set of pis, my friend...I like 'em, though. 🙂

  7. I hope someone makes a model version of this. I dont have the skills for it, haha.

  8. Nice pics ... but 'Dickbutt' is a fake ...

  9. Reading the fine print there are many good chuckles, but Colonial Navy does take the prize IMHO. Love the Brits... dastardly behavior with impeccable manners. 😉

  10. My favorites are, indeed, Colonial Navy and 'Must Be Air Force', different kinds of humour but both of them cause a big grin in my face 🙂
    It seems these occasions brought a needed relief for a ship´s crew, especially during war time, judging the wild, wide spread decorations on Panther, Corsairs and -2 Banshees

  11. They are all awesome examples of humour in uniform! The Banshee is my favourite.

  12. Out-freakin'-standing! These are real gems, David! So far, it looks like Colonial Navy and the "Must Be Air Force" are in the lead as far as comments on Favourites seem to be.

    Bravo ! ! ! ! !

  13. When I was a Plane Captain in VAW-124, I once had to stand watch on a VAW-122 E-2C from the Forestall to keep it from being zapped. In the modern USN it is done with squadron stickers. I am proud to say I failed! That bird had VAW-124 zappers behind avionics boxes, the back of the cockpit door, and waaaiiiiit for it...Smack dab on the tip of the nose. The pilot pulled that one off. Chief chewed my a*s good! In fairness the bird was there on purpose for a meeting, but still it was fair game.

    • Rob, I was aware that sailors had to ‘stand watch’ against this behaviour when a ‘visiting’ aircraft paid a call, but never in a million years did I hope that we’d actually get a first hand story. Thanks for this, you are a prince, Rob!


      • When I was a rookie in VF-31, we zapped a marine VMFA 321 F-4, with felix stickers, which we were told to remove, all were save one , which was inside the forward canopy frame behind the pilot.

  14. Outstanding selection of 'zap' photos. I really enjoyed them all and thank you for sharing them with us.

  15. Absolutely my pleasure, Jim.

  16. Love ‘em all! Great fun for the floating families.

  17. Great pics, David. I built that FAA “Colonial Navy” Phantom a couple years ago! The VF-143 F-4 is interesting too. I think it’s the first F-4 I’ve seen on an Essex class carrier.

  18. @j-Healy

    And here she is. A real beauty.

  19. Inspirational. I've got a boring panther just waiting for this treatment! TY

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