National Markings
New Zealand Air Force

This section describes and illustrates the insignia used by the Royal New Zealand Air Force since its formation:


  
Main MarkingFin Flash

1923-1942
Until the start of the Pacific War, New Zealand military aircraft markings followed the parctice of the Royal Air Force. The standard Type A blue/white/red roundel was displayed in the standard six positions, plus a red/white/blue fin flash or rudder stripes – with red leading. No service titles were carried.


  
Main MarkingFin Flash

1942-1944
The war with Japan caused a rapid reduction in the size of the central red area, until it was almost a dot. At the same time the fin flash morphed into a very tall and very narrow red/white/blue stripe.


  
Main MarkingFin Flash

1944-1945
With the arrival of large numbers of Lend-Lease aircraft from the USA, the simple expedient of overpainting the US national insignia central star with with a blue disc resulted in a distinctive blue/white/wblue Pacific War roundel. The tone of blue used varied from very light to very dark.


  
Main MarkingFin Flash

1946-1957
In the post-war period, national markings reverted to the standard Royal Air Force pattern, but did not change when the central red disc was enlarged on RAF roundels in 1947. The service title ‘ROYAL NEW ZEALAND AIR FORCE’ was displayed on the fuselage sides of transport aircraft.


  
Main MarkingFin Flash

1957-1960
In 1957 a white fern leaf was added to the central red disc, to create a nationally specific insignia. The service titles remained as before.


  
Main MarkingFin Flash

1960-1967
Because of remarks that the white fern looked like a white feather, in 1960 it was changed to a silver fern. But on aluminium aircraft, some observers remarked that this looked like worn paint.



  
Main MarkingFin Flash

1970-present
From 10 October 1970 the national insignia was changed to one with the central red disc replaced by a red Kiwi bird. The bird normally faces forward, but some instances are known of it facing backwards. The fin flash remains unchanged. The service title ‘ROYAL NEW ZEALAND AIR FORCE’ is displayed on the fuselage sides of transport aircraft. RNZAF helicopters now carry the service title ‘AIR FORCE’ on the rear fuselage.


  
Main MarkingMain Marking

1970-present
Two different low visibility versions of the kiwi roundel have been used. A red/blue version with no white areas, and a grey version with the bird and outer ring the same tone of grey.

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