This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Swiss Air Force and civil aircraft markings

Last modified: 2024-05-25 by martin karner
Keywords: switzerland | air force | air force roundel | roundel | aircraft marking |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

See also:

Swiss Air Force

Both the navy and air force are branches of the army (like the infantry and artillery).
T. F. Mills, 12 February 1996

Aircraft markings – Introduction

The nationality of the air force aircraft is identified by a circle, square, cross, star, or other shape painted on the fuselage. France was the first country to create a nationality marking (roundel) painted on the wings and fuselage of military aircraft, which could be called a "national flag in the sky" in 1912. The roundel was a concentric circle with blue in the center, white and red on the outside, and the same design is still used today. It is said to have originated from the circular cap badge cocarde, a circular ribbon of the same colors as the tricolor flag that was attached to hats during the French Revolution.
The following year, in 1913, Serbia and Romania adopted the roundels, using the colors of their national flags and following the French roundel. In the same year, in Asia, the Republic of China adopted a star-shaped roundel instead of a circle based on the five-color flag, which was the national flag at that time. The year 1914 saw the spread of the practice of placing roundel on military aircraft in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Around the same time, the directional rudders were also painted with vertical fin flashes in the national flag design. Later, the fin flash was repositioned from the rudder to the vertical tail.
During wartime, the color and design of the roundel of the home country were sometimes changed to make them easier to distinguish from those of the enemy. During World War II, the change in British roundel was particularly noticeable. In Europe, where it fought against Germany, the white circle was removed from the wing roundel, and in Asia, where it fought against Japan, the red circle was removed. The United States also frequently changed it roundels during the war, removing the red circles to make them easier to distinguish from the Japanese and to prevent misfiring by friendly forces.
After World War II, many new countries were born and new roundels were created. The Vietnam War prompted the U.S. Air Force to introduce a smaller, less visible, less colorful nationality mark, and many countries followed suit. As with flag designs, military aircraft markings have often been changed after political upheavals, such as the overthrow of a government.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 19 May 2024

Swiss Air Force roundel

[Roundel of Swiss Air Force]  image by Željko Heimer
Source: [pay00]

The size of the cross with respect to the roundel is not specified, but the relative dimensions of the white cross (6:7) is retained as in the flag.
Željko Heimer, 30 January 2003

The Schweizerische Fliegertruppe was formed on 31 July 1914 and soon after adopted markings which consisted of broad red wing-tips stripe and rudder, both charged with the Swiss cross. It was renamed to Schweizerische Flugtruppe in 1936, Schweizerische Flugwaffe in 1946 and Schweizerische Luftwaffe on 1 January 1996.

During WWII, and in order that the Swiss cross would not be mistakenly identified as the Nazi swastika, identification stripes of white-red-white were added to the fuselage and wing marking.

In 1947 the current roundel was adopted, and used on the wings and fin.
Dov Gutterman, 25 June 2004

Markings of Swiss civil airplanes

I've noticed that Swissair, and other commercial aircraft from Switzerland bear the Swiss flag on their tails in some form; is this required of all civilian aircraft in Switzerland?
Dean McGee, 20 September 2004

I came across a page of Swiss law index which deals with civil aircraft markings: Article 6 determines the emblem's specifications of design and locations on the plane. Art. 1 states that the Federal Authority for Aviation assigns an emblem and a register marking to every airplane which is being registered in the airplane register. Art. 2 states that the Federal Authority may allow to the holder of the airplane to omit the emblem, but only after a well-founded motion. It further states that the Federal Authority may allow to put up the Swiss emblem on airplanes which are not registered in the Swiss airplane register, if:
a. it's in the interest of the country (CH) or
b. the airplane is used from a Swiss company for commercial aviation.
Martin Karner, 20 September 2004