If you thought you were safe in the air, think again.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- Air & Space magazine, August 2013
The sharkmouth motif dates back to World War I, when it was common to both German and Allied airplanes. "The sheer flamboyance of this uniquely aggressive insignia," writes Richard Ward in his 1970 book Sharkmouth, "has attracted the disapproval of the pompous and the dull-minded."
"The first aircraft on which a mouth insignia was regularly painted," writes Ward, "was the magnificently streamlined Roland C.II Walfisch of the First World War. Strictly speaking it was a 'whalemouth'—a narrow black slit, which was later divided into separate lips by a white gash." One of the earliest known examples of a sharkmouth (the LFG Roland C.II shown above), also sports painted curtains on the side windows.