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PlaneTags: Own a Piece of Aviation History
When Dave Hall, EAA 1475042, began MotoArt 21 years ago, it was simply a hobby that “kind of spun out of control a little bit.” Initially calling the company Propeller Art, Dave and his former business partner rescued old propellers, polished them, and then created sculptures with them. The business soon expanded into usable furniture made of discarded aircraft parts and grew from there. About six years ago, a new part of Dave’s business emerged — PlaneTags.
“I had the idea for PlaneTags numerous years before that. I was working on an old P-51 Mustang and had the damaged air scoop that a client had brought in. And I realized that we couldn’t get rid of the material because it was the authentic skin from this P-51,” Dave explained. “So I ran up and penciled out an idea. And instead of like a dog tag, we’ll come up with a plane tag, and I actually made a prototype and that sucker sat in my pocket for years before I finally acted on it. One year for Christmas, I came up with six different plane tags on a Black Friday, hoping to see that it would take off.”
Take off it has. While MotoArt continues to produce high-end furniture, PlaneTags has grown from an idea to a separate business. Dave estimated the company has documented around 140 different aircraft types with tags produced out of authentic skins. The company works with a variety of museums and organizations to acquire skins to create new tags.
“We are working with a lot of different museums now who become advocates of our work, including Pima Air & Space,” Dave said. “We just heard the Smithsonian National Museum will be carrying our work starting in September. And what’s great is a lot of new aircraft are really coming out of the woodwork for us, with lots of different museums and people participating with trying to add to the PlaneTags collection. Really our goal is really trying to categorize aviation history as best as we can.”
While MotoArt has exhibited at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh before, 2022 will be the first time PlaneTags will be represented at the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration. The MotoArt/PlaneTags booth is No. 2021 in the Collins Aerospace Exhibit Hangar B. Additionally, Dave plans to check out the inventory EAA has available for potential future B-17 Aluminum Overcast tags.
With it being the first time PlaneTags will be at AirVenture, Dave is excited to interact in person with folks who’ve already started collecting, as well as introduce more aviation enthusiasts to his unique product.
“To me, it’s almost an educational purpose. A lot of people might have seen us on social media advertising or friends might have a PlaneTag, but what we like to do is educate everyone on what we’re trying to do and show them the work and show them that these are the genuine skins. This is genuine paint that you see on them. … What we’re really looking forward to is just to be able to talk and educate everyone on PlaneTags and hopefully they walk away with one. It’s a little contagious. People start with one PlaneTag, and we always say, everyone remembers their first PlaneTag, because before you know it, you’re collecting your own fleet of aircraft and the tags.”