With the reveal of imagery showing a new paint job for the aircraft used by the Prime Minister, many have expressed concern that the flag has been painted on backwards.

The job of this specific Voyager aircraft, say the MoD, is to provide a secure, cost- effective and suitably profiled transport for Government Ministers and the Royal Family.

So, for context, a Union Flag is said to be ‘distressed’ or ‘backwards’ if the broader (wider) diagonal white stripe is not at the top on the side of the flag nearest the flagpole. You can read more about that here.

To many, it appears that the Union Flag painted on the tail is the wrong way around, following this convention.

Image shows ZZ336 with the flag the “incorrect” way.

However, the Royal Air Force said in a statement:

“The design is correct in all respects and carefully follows the correct protocol for displaying the Union Flag on an aircraft. The convention is for the flag design to appear as though it is flying from a flag placed on the nose of the aircraft, as it travels through the air.  When viewing the starboard side (right hand side), this can give the mistaken impression that the design is backwards, or upside down, when in fact the observer is simply viewing the reverse side of the flag. 

A keen eye will notice that this convention has been consistently applied on all flags represented on the aircraft, including on the Union Flags on the two forward-most aircraft doors.  This protocol is not unique to the UK, a simple on-line search for images of the United States’ Air Force One starboard side will show that an identical convention has been followed.”

Image shows ZZ336 with the flag the “correct” way.

The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, also called the Air and Space Museum, is an aviation museum in the United States and they go into detail on this protocol. Read more in their article ‘Here’s Why The US Flag Sometimes Appears Backwards‘.

 

So, in summary, the flag isn’t upside down and painting them this way is the correct procedure.

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Jason Holmes
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Jason Holmes

Looks great, not sure about the gold though, a little too ‘ rude boi ‘

barry white
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barry white

Theres always some idiot around trying to be smart but this idiot has just proved that that title does belong to her

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

If you’re on twitter do join me in saying hi. UKDJ have already trailed the way.

barry white
Guest
barry white

Dont do Twatter Dan

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Don’t blame you. I have it, but rarely use it. It can be useful to deliver home truths to people like her where’s otherwise they are free to spout forth garbage.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

The idiot is usually a newspaper editor and/ or a BBC producer

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Who is Sharon O Dea?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Does not matter. Found her, and suitable repose sent via Twitter.

“national embarrassment”

If you’re reading this dear, you really are a joke.

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

If you weren’t aware, you can just click the image of the Tweet in the article to go straight through to Twitter, rather than having to search her up.

Sharon, O’dear… is all I can say.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I wasn’t aware of that mate. To be fair, I first saw this on the work PC, which is shite and doesn’t always show certain images. I’m on mobile now and can see her clearly.

Thanks Lusty for that tip.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Just tried it. I’ve been blocked by her! Oh dear, dear, did I offend you telling you that the only embarrassment is you, being embarrassed about a plane with your countries flag on it!?

If you stick your neck out on SM, expect some flack back, especially when the nation is called into question. Herodotus reminded me of that.

No loss.

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

Oh, you poor soul! Sadly it’s the way of the world: say something that people don’t particularly like and you’ll be blocked or downvoted. Particularly petty when someone tries to point out the truth. It always infuriates me when a keyboard warrior thinks they know better than professional designers, aircrews and maintenance teams… you know, the people that do this for a living and would pick up such mistakes? Incidentally, as noted, flag conventions are correctly followed on all aircraft. The British Flag (I’m saying that deliberately as to not cause a debate!) has been used on multiple UK aircraft… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I’m intrigued. Which one?

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

I meant to say that none of the flags on those airframes were ‘backwards’. I’m not quite sure how I managed to mess that up! However, to verify, I’ve been looking back through some of my photos. Some of the Chinooks, Lynx and Merlin HC3’s used a smallish flag on their airframes, comparable to the flags on the door of the Voyager. However, these did not follow the convention, with the flags painted on the starboard side of the aircraft assuming the flagpole was at the tail, not the nose. In fairness, some of these applications were done in times… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

It was late.

Fascinating reading Lusty. Thank you.

Airborne
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Airborne

She come up with the usual lefty trash response when challenged on a subject she knew fuck all about, changed the subject and moaned abiut the cost! The cost which is short term outlay to save long term leasing of other airframes. She is just the typical Muppet who only ever reads a headline. Still it was amusing to see her squirm mate.

Steve
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Steve

Almost a million paid for a rather basic design, i really need to get into governmental contracts.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Would have thought some of the money went on the paint, the labour, safety issues, etc; not just the design??

Steve
Guest
Steve

Maybe 10k on paint and that is stretching things i suspect.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Doubt its gloss from B&Q

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Probably not. It’s not your bathroom wall!

Steve
Guest
Steve

Its not special military paint, it is just effectively a commercial airliner reconfigured and i assume commercial airliner paint. Probably better comparison is car paint, as that has to stand up to the elements, admittedly at lower speeds but equally it an airliner does’t have people standing as close and so doesn’t need to be as cosmetically nice. If you buy paint as a consumer, your paying retail prices which are massively inflated, i assume the MOD went straight to the factory. Cost from factory of car paint if probably a tenner, maybe a grand or 2 for something that… Read more »

expat
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expat

I worked for company and we made some aircraft parts. A gallon of CAA/FAA certified paint thinners was 45 quid, that gives you an indication of the cost differences when you get into aviation. Aircraft paint has to be applied to rigorous standards its actually ridiculously thin, you don’t want to unnecessarily add extra weight to your airframe so the process is very controlled.

julian1
Guest
julian1

the whole explanation reminds me of being a kid of primary age and having a little folding book with the three flags in it and then the way you built the Union Flag up by folding them over in the correct sequence – I wonder how many people actually understand that as the St Patrick’s cross is not commonly seen unlike the cross of St George or Scottish saltire?

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Where’s geoff? Our flag aficionado.

geoff
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geoff

Haha Daniele. Good Morning. It is simple really-the broad white diagonal in the first quarter(top) must always be at the hoist(closest to the pole)So imagine the plane is a ship and the flag flys with the wind as the plane moves forward!! Good Morning Julian. Ironically, the St Patricks Cross is seldom seen in NI, more common in the South where,inter alia, it forms the main body of the flag of the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. The origin of the St Patricks Cross may have been from its association with the Fitzgeralds. Some Nationalists in the South describe… Read more »

geoff
Guest
geoff

Wish we could edit-I said Irony twice 🙂

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Morning geoff, from a sunny Surrey! Sweltering here. Might be thunderstorms later.

I have learned something, thank you.

geoff
Guest
geoff

Hi Daniele. Sweltering with thunderstorms later-sounds like a Natal February summers day!! Here today clear skies 25 degrees but a lot colder in the shade and 11 degrees tonight!! Keep well and best to your family.

Aethelstan the curioAreus
Guest
Aethelstan the curioAreus

Would it be more gainfully employed showing the flag, escorting old Russian bombers around the UK rather than carting young Boris about?

Steve
Guest
Steve

Whilst i think it is an excessive cost and politicians should just fly economy like the people they pretend to represent, i can’t help thinking it does look good and most major nations have a national plane so maybe it is something we should have.

Grubbie
Guest
Grubbie

Tacky AF.
Also if we wanted a dedicated VIP plane, that what we should have got, this is a ridiculously expensive way to go about it.
We should think about a couple of A319 NEO to replace the 146. It’s better to get something for your money rather than paying people to sit around. Should get a good deal at the moment.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

No, you’re wrong. Get over it.

Grubbie
Guest
Grubbie

Well that was sophisticated

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

It was intended to be

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

I like it. Smart but not garish. Conveys identity.

dan
Guest
dan

Gotta love how the social media’s self proclaimed experts thought they knew better than the professionals that painted the aircraft. haha

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

Sadly, Sharon O’Dear isn’t alone in her thinking. One has to just look at the comments on Richard’s original post to see how many people are unaware of conventions. Anyone for an afternoon of correcting? Or shall we let them rage in their own juices?

Basra
Guest
Basra

The “fabby” new paint job does put a bit of a crimp in the plans to use it in the AAR role. I have no issues with HMG having the plane infact I think it was a nonsense before when they did not have one but surely it should have come from the four aircraft reserve rather than the 9 operational units. I also thought the previous gray paint job with RAF on it was superior and made government ministers and royalty look more professional. This smacks of Donald Trump and Bojo. When the Queen is landing at your airport… Read more »

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Oh, do grow up. Macron has a big tricolour on his plane.

Basra
Guest
Basra

More reason not to then, Angela has a grey finish also

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Love that Trevor, telling someone to “grow up” then using the logic of ‘well another guy has a flag on his’. Brilliant.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Well, believe this, it is brilliant.
l get fed up of every moaning minnie carping about this sort of stuff, too many happy to cross the road to complain instead of dealing with it.

If people do want to cross the road to moan then moan about somethimg worthwhile, like the road itself and about the state of all the pot holes in it.

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Well the “moainie minnie” showed his workings on why he felt the way he did, it was hardly “naw, I dinnae like it so its sh1te…”. So it seem what you object to is people having a different view on things to yourself.

By all means, throw out smoke and try and deflect with your potholes and roads gibberish but it doesn’t take away from the point that the guy had a logical reason for his take on it, your’s….. not so much.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

I am entied to have an objection and I made it, and so are you.

It is a perfectly reasonable and practical policy and I am quite happy to criticise the carping that has been said.
And I am happy to use a simple analogy to show some practical alternatives.

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Ah, so YOU are entitled…. Why use the “grow up” though, its either deliberately adversarial or just plain ‘spitting the dummy’ because someone said something YOU didn’t like. Neither is a particularly good quality.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Some people tweet some reactionary shite don’t they! National embarrassment? Realy? There’s plenty of national embarrassments going on at the moment, such as the shadow cabinet, Police deciding that they no longer want to Police the streets, middle class apologists terrified of challenging the current situation on the streets, UK Companies and organisations grovelling to a baying crazy mob in their efforts to declare themselves non racists, the politicking going on in the Premier League (no poppies allowed however) etc…..However this isn’t, this is a rather good, simple idea to promote UK, and if it saves money in the long… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Have you seen what went on in Brixton?

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Hard to say, bearing in mind the way the BBC produce the news

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Yes mate, just the start of what I reckon will be coming! The more everyone panders to the mob, the mob gets braver and more intolerant! Scum bags basically!

billythefish
Guest
billythefish

Looks awesome – very impressive

billythefish
Guest
billythefish

To be fair at least she took the time to notice – even if proven incorrect. The amount of times I have seen the UJ incorrectly flown in many places – Outside the European Parliament building in 2010…for example…

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

I am glad it is not that gaudy red version the press showed. This is not as bad as feared. A scaled down version on the 2x Global 5500 that 32 sqn needs would be OK.

Ian
Guest
Ian

If it’s looked at by analogy with a flag on a jack-staff at the rear of a ship then the convention seems fairly obvious.

Darren hall
Guest
Darren hall

I’ve seen some complaints that it is too shiny.
I think it looks smart