Pimp my flight: 7 crazy paint schemes that make these planes pop

After teasing Star Wars fans with renderings of a jet dressed up as R2-D2, Boeing and All Nippon Airways of Japan recently unveiled the real thing: a 787-9 aircraft painted in the droid’s recognizable traits. The custom plane, part of a multi-year campaign between ANA and Disney, will fly around the world to promote the three upcoming Star Wars films. Two additional planes – one in the likeness of a new droid, BB-8 – will join R2-D2 in 2016.

Every airline has a signature design, or livery, that identifies it, and is used across the fleet. But, sometimes a few planes will receive special paint jobs as part of a sponsorship, marketing campaign, celebration, or when an airline just wants to have a bit of fun. These custom schemes are usually temporary, but some are so good, we wish they were permanent. Whether weird or successful, here are a few of our favorites.

JetBlue Binary Code

Jetblue-Binary_

To promote its onboard Wi-Fi, dubbed “Fly-Fi,” JetBlue painted the tail and rear fuselage of one of its Airbus A320 planes with zeroes and ones. Techies, of course, instantly recognized it as binary code. The plane, called “CONNECTED TO 01000010 01001100 01010101 01000101, translates to “CONNECTED TO BLUE.” We think it’s genius.

Alaska Salmon Thirty Salmon II

Salmon-Thirty-Salmon-II-737-800_

Alaska Airlines has several planes with special paint jobs (our Portland crew probably has a soft spot for the Timbers jet) but the weirdest one might just be the one with a fish on the sides of a 737. Called “Salmon Thirty Salmon” (get it?) the design is a tribute to the Alaska king salmon and a partnership with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. The airline flies millions of pounds of seafood from Alaska to the mainland every year.

Lufthansa Retro Flieger

Lufthansa-Retro-Flieger_

Commemorating their heritages, several airlines have brought back paint schemes used in the past. Lufthansa of Germany is one, but what’s unique about this retro design is that it’s painted on one of airline’s newest planes, the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jumbo.

EVA Hello Kitty

EVA-Hello-Kitty_

Few have achieved a status as high as Hello Kitty, and she’s not even real. The cartoon character has a huge global following, which is probably why Taiwan’s EVA Air has covered a Boeing 777 with Hello Kitty and her posse to attract fans. It’s not just on the fuselage: the motif can be found in the interior as well, from pillows and flight attendant uniforms to lavatory amenities.

ANA Pokemon

ANA Pokemon

The Star Wars R2-D2 isn’t the first promotion tie-in ANA has done. Since 1996, it has painted a few planes to tap into the Pokemon craze, making a 777 look like some sort of flying circus. Like EVA’s Hello Kitty and the R2-D2 jets, the Pokemon experience is carried inside.

Air New Zealand All Blacks

Air-New-Zealand-All-Blacks-2

Air New Zealand latched onto Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, calling itself the “airline of Middle-Earth.” It even created a few whimsical safety videos around characters from films based on JRR Tolkien’s books. But we aren’t as jazzed with this marketing campaign (The Telegraph calls it ugly) as we are with the airline’s stunning all-black scheme, a tribute to New Zealand’s national rugby team. While most airlines stick with plain white, the all-black planes are boss.

Kulula Flying 101

flying-101-2

Kulula may be an unfamiliar name, but the South African budget airline has a great sense of humor. For its “Flying 101” livery, Kulula covered a Boeing 737 with legends and graphics that indicate the various parts of the plane, from the cockpit (“The big cheese”) and nose cone to the black box and stabilizer. It’s not only funny, but it’s also a great-looking plane.

Photography

This A.I.-powered camera follows the action to produce epic selfie videos

Want to capture more epic action selfies? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action. Using a handful of different modes, the camera works to keep the action in the frame.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Photography

Sony crams its best camera tech into the new $900 A6400

Love Sony's autofocus, but can't stomach the full-frame price? The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera uses some of the same autofocus technology and the processor of the A9 in a compact, more affordable crop-sensor camera.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Photography

GoPro bumps resolution on Fusion 360 cam to 5.6K with new firmware

Currently available in public beta, Fusion firmware version 2.0 offers a new 5.8K mode that results in 5.6K output when the 360 camera's two hemispheres are stitched together. It also adds support for 24 fps video and RAW time-lapse…
Photography

With 5-stop optical stabilization, Fujifilm GF 100-200mm is ready for adventure

Fujifilm revealed a new lens designed to deliver on the GFX system's promise of adventure-ready medium-format photography. The GF 100-200mm F5.6 R is a weather resistant, relatively lightweight, 2x telephoto with impressive stabilization.
Photography

Olympus teaser shares glimpse of OM-D camera that’s good for more than sports

Is Olympus about to release a new mirrorless camera geared toward sports photographers? The latest teaser offers a glimpse of an upcoming OM-D camera set to launch on January 24, and by the looks of the teasers, it's capable for landscapes…
Photography

Nikon A1000, B600 pack big zooms into compact, budget-friendly cameras

The new Nikon Coolpix A1000 packs in a 35x zoom lens, 4K video, and an optical viewfinder, while Nikon's B600 brings a 60x zoom lens to the table. The cameras are modest updates to Nikon's budget-friendly zoom models.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Photography

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Photography

Photography news: Careful, self-driving cars can ruin your camera sensor

In this week's photography news, learn how self-driving cars destroyed a digital camera via lasers. Find out how many patents Canon filed for in 2018. Read about what Tamron lenses are available for the Nikon Z6.
Photography

Here are 8 GoPro tips to get the most out of your action cam

There's more to your GoPro camera than just mounting it to your skateboard. Whether it's finding the best accessories or understanding the settings more thoroughly, learn to shoot video like a pro with these simple GoPro tips and tricks.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!