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It is a question of balance. When every element in a design is in balance, our eyes will give up trying to search for something missing. This is the basic rule in designing anything; cars, motorcycles, shoes or aircraft. From the angle of art, a process of painting an aircraft is almost like designing. One has to capture the basic phases of the result, and try to locate the most essential elements in the design. It's a bit like painting a portrait. How to find and highlight those magical points which are the most important when trying to capture the real nature of a super-sonic beauty, or beast, depending on which way you look at it. Accumulated into the present, there is also the past. It is a continuous process through mistakes and then fixes, to build up the final form.


A Finland F-18 Hornet

Since my childhood, late 60s, I followed the evolution of jet fighters, most of all THE REGISTER the angle of design and aesthetics. I was fascinated by the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. I first saw those planes in the pictures of Vietnamese War. The F-4 Phantom was a two-seated heavy fighter bomber, in it a little boys eye caught the breeze of modern times. Its design removed from shackles that tethered it to subsonic speeds. Post World War Two saw the breaking of the sound barrier and discovered increased air resistance in high speed. Yet those aircraft were still quite clumsy, as they were slowed down by weighty hydraulic flight controls as the much lighter Fly-by-wire technology, was still some way in the future.


F-4 Phantom by MacDonnell Douglas

The next leap forward in the design of aircraft came in the 1970s with a lightweight fighter contest between the F16 Falcon and the F17 Cobra. Without the support of a computer, both aircraft were unstable. For the first time a wing was a living element. From that point onwards, there was a huge breakthrough with information technology.

The F-16 Viper

Design never stops, the latest version of the F-17, now the F-18 Super Hornet has reduced engine intakes as well as surface treatment designed in this case, to minimize radar reflection. The stealth-generation had arrived. The designers faced a whole new set of problems with stealth-fighters. Earlier concepts were simpler, they didnt have to consider anything but air-resistance and realize how the air behaved at different speed and altitudes. Now the aircraft had to be invisible to radar. Therefore a traditional shape started to re-mold. Weapon-systems had to recess into the structure of the plane with increasingly complex mechanisms. How to carry out all this with the less-is-more-attitude? A function meets beauty. In conventional aviation design all was the servant to an entirety. There was obvious reason in every detail of jet design. A design is not just something touchable. Everything creative is connected into the same part of the brain. Mr. Jimmy Page once said his compositions are made of shadow and light; the biggest musical influences in my art, have been Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix.

With portraits, the dimensions are all about math plus metaphysics. During a process of capturing the form of an aircraft, I get carried away with a feeling reminiscent to opening a closed door without knowing whats behind it. Aviation and art talk to people from the same direction. Above.


OUT OF THE BLUE :: By Rauli Mard
40 x 60 inches, 2011

Aviation history is full of great inventions and breakthroughs, and this all came in just one century. Recently, I visited an Air Force base in Finland, after enjoying their hospitality I said something to my guide. The officer was a pilot with experience of 1100 flight-hours of F18 Hornet. We went further away from the Hornet and I said to him :  Just look, look at the beautiful office which you have, look at those lines, and the dimensions !  He looked at the plane and then stared at it for a long time...



About the Author

Rauli Mard

Rauli Mard

From my professional beginning, year 1988, I have tried to be faithful to my own style whilst explore new paths and directions. If I should mention three guiding stars of my artistic career, they defi...
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