Spent a delightful Saturday at the all-day seminar on Great War aviation held at the Museum of Flight. Long-lost compadre Cliff Hare was there in a wingman capacity.

Here, he floats though the zero-gee environs of the Space Station module.

Highlights of the seminar included a report on a detailed windtunnel analysis of the doughty Fokker DVII, conducted at the UW windtunnel in the 1990’s.

One of several graphing-oriented slides.

The 1/4 scale model used for the tests.

This slide was from my favorite presentation, an overview of research techniques and results for learning about aircraft color schemes and insignia and how the appearances of a plane changed over time. The presentation was something like a primer in spectro-chemical and microscopic analysis of paint and canvas composition in scientific art history, except instead of preindustrial masterworks by Leonardo, it was the hurried and evolving efforts of factories and line crews.

This slide shows the contemporary appearance of the left-side cross insignia cut from Manfred von Richthofen’s celebrated, and fatal, red Fokker Dr.1 (the worn swatch to the left). The crisp graphics to the right show the stages of appearance the plane took, from factory to the day it was destroyed.

The presenter showed case after case in which a photographic evidence was used in combination with detailed swatch analysis to present compelling interpretations for the history of a given aircraft’s livery. It was thrilling.