Military Aviation

Aviation artist who conceived new RDAF special painted F-16 explains why Danish Half Century Fighting Falcon pattern is the most complex of all paint schemes ever applied to an F-16

Danish Half Century Fighting Falcon

Taken on Jun. 4-6, 2024 the cool photos in this post feature the new Kongelige Danske Flyvevåben (KDF, Royal Danish Air Force, RDAF) special painted F-16. The new paint scheme is dubbed Danish Half Century Fighting Falcon and it is aimed at celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the mighty Viper.

Noteworthy, F-16AM Fighting Falcon serial E-006’s beautiful paint scheme was designed by aviation artist Mads Bangsø.

The most complex of all paint schemes ever applied to an F-16

As he explains to The Aviation Geek Club, ‘the unique paint scheme of E-006 consists of a very elaborate pattern as it exceeds the complexity of all the other paint schemes that have been applied to an F-16 in Denmark, and perhaps even in Europe!

‘However, there was a helping hand for the painters in the paint scheme, and here it gets a bit technical.

‘The surface of the aircraft is a three-dimensional surface, while the pattern in the paint (the stripes) is two-dimensional. Just like when making a map of the world, some areas will be distorted because a 3D surface is projected onto a 2D surface.

‘It is most obvious under the cockpit where the stripes are clearly distorted by the aircraft’s cylindrical shape. When viewed directly from above, however, the lines will be perfectly straight, and the painters could use this to their advantage.

‘A laser meter was placed in the ceiling directly above the aircraft; the laser meter sent a beam of light down onto the aircraft, and by placing this line precisely where the pitot meets the nose, and the other end of the beam where the stripe should end, the masking could be done quite smoothly, just by following the laser line across the aircraft.’

He continues;

‘With Danish Half Century Fighting Falcon, there were no official design guidelines or constraints yet, so imagination could run wild. The idea was precisely to make the underside different from the top side, providing the opportunity to hide some details that could then be seen when the aircraft was in the air.

Painted ”freehand”

‘However, I was convinced that the top and bottom sides should have some common design elements. So, what if we created stripes, as was done on the top side, but in different shades of silver (but with the white cross on the top side with the same silver shades as the underside)?

‘On May 7th, E-006 was completely painted (with her underside being painted ”freehand,” an absolute testament to the skill of the painters!) and left the paint hangar for the first time since January 2024.

‘An incredible feeling to know that the aircraft was finally completely finished and just waiting to be showcased. But how? Now that DAS [the Danish Air Show where Danish Half Century Fighting Falcon was scheduled to be showcased for the first time] is canceled, how will the aircraft be showcased? The decision was made to create a series of teasers at Skrydstrup air base, gradually revealing more and more of the aircraft… four in total before the big premiere.’

Bangsø concludes;

‘The first film was shown on May 30th, and then the other three were leaked with a few days in between until the grand premiere on Jun. 9.’

Photo credit: Aviation PhotoCrew

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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