This beautiful looking aircraft is a Mitsubishi A6M Zero, as flown by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during the Second World War. The Zero entered service in 1940 and quickly gained a fearsome reputation as both a long range fighter and dogfighter, with a kill ratio into double figures.
Constructed as a single piece (unlike the American and European planes of the time) it weighed about half that of its opponents and could out-turn anything else that flew during the war. Unfortunately this strategy meant it was lightly armored and under-powered, and the Zero rapidly became obsolete during the ultra fast technology progression of Word War 2, ending its days as a Kamikaze weapon, long before Al Qaeda made it cool.
Mrutek on Flickr is the builder behind the Japanese warplane forever immortalized by one terrible day in December 1941.