Polish Air Force Checkerboard

Polish Air Force Checkerboard

The Air Force checkerboard (Polish: szachownica lotnicza) is a national marking for the aircraft of the Polish Air Force, equivalent to roundels used in other nations' air forces. It consists of four equal squares, of which the upper left and lower right are white, and the other two – red. These are surrounded by a border of inverted (counterchanged) colors 1/5 the thickness of a single square. Until 1993 the colors were reversed (i.e. red in the upper left).

Initially Polish military aircraft used varied signs in national colors (red and white), most frequently shields party per bend, pale, or red letter "Z" in a white square. The four-field, red-white checkerboard, was first used as a personal insignia of the Polish fighter pilot Stefan Stec. It was adapted as the Polish national roundel on 1 December, 1918.

In 1921 contrasting red and white border was added, but without specified dimension. In 1930 the ratio of border to fields was fixed at 1:5. According to current regulations, an additional gray border can be added, 1:6 the size of the field, if the insignia is on white or red background.

Between 1960s and 1980s the checkerboard (usually rotated 45 degrees) was also painted on turrets and hulls of Polish Army's tanks and APCs. The tradition was however discontinued.

In 1993 the color order was changed from red-dominant (red in the upper left) to white-dominant, to conform to heraldic rules, though ignoring the 70-year old tradition. The first white-dominant checkerboard was used in 1940 in France.

Read more about Polish Air Force Checkerboard:  Heraldic Rules

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