Tag Archives: Disneyland Resort

Alaska Airlines’ new air-to-air video

Video: Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines “Spirit of Disneyland II” and “Adventure of Disneyland Resort” photographed over Washington State and Arizona from a Clay Lacy Aviation Astrovision-equipped Learjet.

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) posted this on their blog today:

In the world of aviation photography, the money shot looks like this: Alaska Airlines’ bright-blue Disney plane soars through billowy white clouds, perfectly spotlighted by midmorning sun. The Boeing 737-900 banks slightly to showcase its colorful fuselage painted with the “Fab Five” – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy – along with the cheerful words, “We’re going to Disneyland.”

In an age of computer-generated everything, the surreal scenes look animated. But this magic is real.

“That’s why we do the air-to-air filming, so we don’t have to use computer-generated images,” said Elliott Pesut, integrated marketing manager for Alaska Airlines.

Alaska’s “Adventure of Disneyland Resort” flies above Monument Valley.Alaska’s “Adventure of Disneyland Resort” flies through Monument Valley.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 Adventure

Above Photo: Alaska Airlines. Boeing 737-890 N570AS (msn 35185) “Adventure of Disneyland Resort” flies through Monument Valley.

In another video sequence, Alaska’s “Adventure of Disneyland Resort,” lovingly referred to as the “Cars”-themed airplane, cruises past the pillars and buttes of Monument Valley near the Arizona-Utah state line, returning characters Lightning McQueen and Mater to the landscape that inspired their fictional hometown. The red rocks serve as a perfect backdrop for the cloud-colored aircraft.
The videos are the product of a carefully choreographed air-to-air ballet involving skilled pilots, an expert camera crew and a modified Learjet equipped with an aerial cinematography system. It’s all coordinated under the watchful eye of Clay Lacy, a National Aviation Hall of Fame pilot who has been at the center of more than 3,000 air-to-air film projects, including the famous air-to-air shots in “Top Gun.”

“This is like three-dimensional chess,” said Brad Burger, manager of video communications at Alaska. “You have the camera plane, the ‘target’ plane and the background, and these objects are being balanced in real time moving at 220 knots, so that’s really different from anything else you’d do in film.

“The Monument Valley shoot was eye-popping. I think it’s the most stunning photography that I’ve seen in my 25 years with Alaska.”

Alaska with Learjet (Alaska)(LRW)

Above Photo: A Learjet equipped with cameras flies ahead of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900 to film air-to-air video of the plane. (Photo by Cole Cosgrove)

Alaska hired Clay Lacy Aviation to film two of the airline’s four Disney-themed planes. The shots will be used by Alaska and the Disneyland Resort to promote their partnership and Alaska’s kid-friendly amenities – and serve as a reminder that Alaska has the most nonstop flights between the Pacific Northwest and Southern California.

“We’ll shoot five hours and probably use five seconds for the next five years,” Pesut said.
Months of planning preceded the two days of filming.

“From ‘Top Gun,’ we learned to maneuver with other airplanes,” Lacy said. “Dealing with an airliner, there’s better planning and better communications. There are no surprises.”

Attention to detail is key. The “target” plane would fly north to south to get the best morning light on the left side of the plane, so the word “Alaska” would be most readable from nose to tail. All the window shades were up and no customers were onboard. Pilots were instructed to “look like pilots” – hands on the yoke, perfect uniforms.

“We’ll be able to count the freckles on your nose,” said photographer Chad Slattery.

Alaska air-to-air route over WA (Alaska)(LR)

Above: Air to air Flight Aware 9820 flight map from FlightAware shows the flight path of the Alaska Airlines Spirit of Disneyland II during the air-to-air video shoot.

Lacy’s pioneering Astrovision camera system uses patented periscopes on the top and bottom of the Learjet, which allow for a full circle of rotation during filming. Nearly 40 years of aerial coordination and filming experience translates to safe, efficient filming sessions, Lacy says.

“I love Alaska Airlines,” Lacy said. “I’ve flown them a lot through the years, and we’ve done a hell of a lot of filming with them over the years.”

On the first morning of filming, the “Spirit of Disneyland II” departed Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to scout for perfect white clouds to serve as a backdrop for the dark plane. This “target plane” was piloted by Alaska Airlines Capt. Scott Sander and Capt. Bruce Patterson, who served as first officer on the flight.

“We want our shoot to be epic, Bruce,” Sander said. “None of that gray wispy stuff.”

The pair coordinated with air traffic controllers as they sought the best stretches of sky over Eastern Washington. Meanwhile, the Learjet departed Boeing Field packed with camera gear, a cinematographer, an Astrovision tech, a photographer, Clay Lacy and another pilot. A member of the Alaska Airlines video communications department rode along in the Learjet to oversee the project.

For the next few hours of filming, the Learjet hovered above, below, beside and behind the 737.

“This deck of clouds is perfect,” Patterson said. “They couldn’t have picked a better day.”

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900 Spirit

Above Photo: Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines has four Disneyland-themed planes, including the pictured Boeing 737-990 N318AS (msn 30018) “Spirit of Disneyland II.”

Alaska’s Disneyland-themed planes:

Spirit of Disneyland II (Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy)

Adventure of Disneyland Resort (Lightning McQueen, Mater, Guido and Luigi from the Disney·Pixar film “Cars”)

Magic of Disneyland (Tinker Bell)

Spirit of Make-A-Wish (Genie from “Aladdin”)

Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show:

Alaska Airlines introduces its fifth Disneyland logojet today

Alaska 737-800 WL N570AS (13-Disneyland 5th-Cars)(Grd) SEA (BDF)(LRW)

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) today introduced its fifth Disney logojet in rainy Seattle. Boeing 737-890 N570AS (msn 35185) has been painted in this special “Follow us to Disneyland Resort” color scheme. Oddly instead of promoting the recent “Disney Planes” movie the characters are from “Disney Cars”.

Alaska Airlines later in the day issued this statement:

The newest themed airplane in Alaska Airlines’ fleet flew into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport today (November 7), featuring one of America’s most beloved and rusty tow trucks.

Alaska Disneyland Pilots in Cockpit (Alaska)(LRW)

Adorned with the familiar images of Disney-Pixar’s animated Cars characters Mater, Lightning McQueen, Guido and Luigi, the colorful Boeing 737-800 named “Adventure of Disneyland Resort” celebrates Alaska’s partnership with Walt Disney’s original theme park.

It is the fifth Disney-themed airplane born out of the successful partnership between Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and Disneyland Resort.

“Our Disney planes generate a lot of excitement among our passengers young and old wherever they fly,” said Jeff Butler, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of customer service-airports and cargo, and board member of Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our strong partnership than to launch this flying invitation to visit Disneyland Resort’s newest attraction and Mater’s home in Cars Land.”

At a special airport event, Mater himself made a satellite appearance from Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park, providing travelers with updates on the arrival of the plane as it neared Seattle. After the ceremony, the aircraft officially joined the Alaska fleet on a flight to Orange County, Calif., and will then fly throughout the carrier’s 65-city network.

“Adventure of Disneyland Resort is a great example of taking beloved, iconic Disney-Pixar characters and bringing them to life in new and unexpected ways,” said Sharon Siskie, Disney Destinations’ vice president of travel industry sales. “It’s been our great privilege to be part of this collaborative effort with Alaska Airlines, and we’re delighted that today’s inaugural flight will create some very powerful memories for special guests from Make-A-Wish.”

Joining passengers flying on Flight 500 were four Make-A-Wish children from Washington and Alaska, ages 3 to 7, and their families, who will spend the next several days at the Disneyland Resort. During their visit, they will be treated to special activities and enjoy overnight accommodations at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel at the Resort.

“Since our inception, we’ve granted life-affirming wishes to more than 5,300 children in Alaska and Washington and it’s only because of the partnerships that we have with companies like Alaska Airlines and Disney,” said Barry McConnell, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.

Since granting its first wish in 1986, Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington has granted 2,257 Disney wishes and sent 1,051 children and their families on wish trips via Alaska Airlines. Disney helps Make-A-Wish America® grant more than 5,000 wishes annually, making a trip to a Disney Park the most frequent wish requested by Make-A-Wish children.

Alaska Airlines has supported Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington since 1986 and provides air transportation for about 225 Wish kids and their families to travel each year. Alaska invites members of its Mileage Plan to donate frequent-flier miles to Make-A-Wish through the Charity Miles program.

The Adventure of Disneyland Resort aircraft received its new livery at Aviation Technical Services in Everett, Washington. A team of specialists from Associated Painters Inc. accomplished the complicated painting process, including a sponge-type application to re-create Mater’s rust-colored finish.

Adventure of Disneyland Resort trivia:

  • A 34-member crew worked around the clock for 29 days at Associated Painters Inc. to paint the plane.
  • Painters painstakingly airbrushed the aircraft with 70 unique colors and applied more than 10,000 square feet of vinyl graphics to create the lifelike characters, including the headlights, tire rims and eyes.
  • More than 72,000 linear feet of masking tape was used during the painting of the Adventure of Disneyland Resort.
  • Mater’s rustic-looking muffler, which is located on the tail of the jet, will naturally change color over time due to the plane’s normal exhaust stains.
  • The 129-foot-long Boeing 737-800 has a wingspan of 117 feet and a cruising speed of 530 mph.
  • The plane accommodates 157 passengers and six crew members.

Top Copyright Photo: Brandon Farris/AirlinersGallery.com. The weather did not cooperate at SEA today for the unveiling as a storm system moved through the area. Cockpit Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines.

Video of the painting Process:

Alaska Airlines Slide Show (see all of the logojets): AG Slide Show