This afternoon, what appeared to be a vintage plane painted in Nazi insignia crashed onto the 101 freeway in Agoura Hills, a city in Los Angeles County. According to the Los Angeles Times, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department “said he did not know whether the pilot was able to safely exit the plane himself or had been removed by rescuers.” No injuries have been reported.
But more than the crash itself, what’s remarkable about the incident is that the plane was decorated to resemble World War II craft flown by the Nazi Luftwaffe air force. That doesn’t mean that this plane itself was made in 1930s Germany—some on Twitter suggested it was an American model—but it does mean whoever owned it wanted to make it look like it was.
Painting vintage planes to look like a Nazi war machines is more popular than you’d expect. Incredibly, this isn’t even the first time a plane like this has crashed on an American freeway in the last two years. In 2017, another small plane painted in a Luftwaffe design had to make an emergency landing on a freeway in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The pilot, Fred Meyer, told AJC at the time that the Nazi paint job was “just for fun.”
“A lot of people like to paint these planes up like old war birds,” Meyer added.
Nazi cosplay has long been popular among war re-enactors, who say that their interest in the Third Reich’s uniforms, battles, and vehicles is purely historical. But in a time when our president is slamming “globalists” on TV while crypto-white nationalists keep emerging from his administration, it’s a little harder to justify celebrating Nazi imagery as “just for fun.”
Update, 7:15 pm: According to Jalopnik, the plane was identified as a North American T-6 Texan. They write:
The plane allegedly belonged to the Condor Squadron, a history group that flies old planes often in World War II-era liveries, and was dressed up to look like a WWII-era German Wermacht plane with the Nazi armed forces balkenkreuz decorating both wings. The plane did not carry the traditional swastika tail markings.