Pilot Picassos: The new trend of using flight tracking to create drawings in the sky

A Qantas pilot recently depicting a kangaroo is just the latest.
A Qantas pilot recently depicting a kangaroo is just the latest. Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

Since online tracking of aircraft with websites such as FlightRadar24.com has become more commonplace, airlines and pilots have used them as a means of self expression - and in some cases, promotion.

Last week, Qantas bid farewell to the last of its iconic Boeing 747-400 aircraft. As the 'Queen of the Skies' departed Australia for the final time, the crew onboard used a series of planned coordinates to draw the airline's kangaroo icon in the sky of the country's east coast.

Pilot Picassos: The new trend of using flight tracking to create drawings in the sky
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

Although you wouldn't have been able to see the drawing from land, the flight path pattern was obvious when seen online.

It's not the first time pilots have entertained users of flight tracking websites by creating coordinated art in the sky.

In April, Turkish Airlines drew a Turkish flag above the country to celebrate its Sovereignty Day.

Pilot Picassos: The new trend of using flight tracking to create drawings in the sky
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

Last year, El Al also paid tribute to its 747s when it retired its own fleet of the jumbo aircraft, drawing the shape of one above the Mediterranean Sea.

Pilot Picassos: The new trend of using flight tracking to create drawings in the sky
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

In December 2017, Airbus drew a christmas tree above Europe using one of its A380s.

Pilot Picassos: The new trend of using flight tracking to create drawings in the sky
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

During a test flight, pilots onboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner surprised media by drawing the aircraft's shape across almost the entire width of the United States.

Pilot Picassos: The new trend of using flight tracking to create drawings in the sky
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

To celebrate the marriage of two Air Malta employees, the airline drew two interconnected hearts above the Mediteranian Sea.

Pilot Picassos: The new trend of using flight tracking to create drawings in the sky
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

Air New Zealand also drew a heart over Aotearoa during a special flight for its Koru Care charity.

Pilot Picassos: The new trend of using flight tracking to create drawings in the sky
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

There have been drawings made of less 'family-friendly' shapes too. In 2019, an Australian pilot was caught drawing the message 'I'm bored' as well as two penises in the airspace above South Australia.

In 2017, Auckland pilot Vaughn Davis drew a penis shape above the city to raise awareness for testicular cancer.

 

 

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