Those who have witnessed the splendor of a custom paint job on an aircraft will agree that it is difficult to be impressed with normal works of art from that point onward. We must take our hats off to many of these jaw-dropping works of art. Aircraft custom paint jobs serve a number of purposes. From scaring the enemy with terrifying military aircraft, to expressing one’s individuality with the wealthiest individuals’ private jets.
Out Of The Ocean
Let us begin with the Airbus Paintshop found within Hamburg, Germany, introducing one-third of the All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) A380 series. How adorable is this airline’s Hawaiian sea turtle design?
ANA happens to be the initial client of the Japanese superjumbo, and you can expect that the other two ANA A380s are headed for the same sea turtle treatment pictured above. Sea turtles can be found in Hawaii, hinting at the plane’s commuting path to Narita-Honolulu. There will be three colors, beyond the blue of this first design, the second being green and the final one being orange. The ANA A380 is an exceptionally complicated work of art, being Airbus’ most ambitious project. Painting the 3,600m² surface of the aircraft became a 21-day long job which involved a sensational 16 individual color tones.
The rarely spotted but hotly discussed CF-18 Demo Jet is a spectacle of the Royal Canadian Air Force. As you can see, this jet is the embodiment of the Canadian spirit, with its white and red maple leaf theme. It was during 2017’s 150th Anniversary Air Show (or Canada150) that the RCAF unveiled the CF-18 fighter jet. Cracking a top speed of 1,127 miles per hour, you might have some trouble spotting the CF-18, but you will definitely hear this sound-barrier breaking marvel.
In contrast to the intimidating appearance of this marvel of art and engineering, fix your eyes on this next entry…
This is the most amusing airplane paint job we have ever seen, which is known as the Nokair. This is a rooster-themed Boeing 737-800 if you had not already noticed. Those who have flown with Nokair Airlines before will be well-acquainted with their funky and hilarious company culture and self-expression, this plane being just one of many examples of their sensational sense of humor. Nokair has a full range of animal-themed planes, but we must give this feathery variety first prize.
When speaking about Boeing passenger jet specifics, they generally house a large amount of people while accelerating under 1,000 miles per hour. Which is why this next aircraft is such a rebel.
The Winged Warrior
Here we have a feathery single-prop with two passenger seats which has not only been painted but built in a rooster’s likeness! This is just another day in standard aircraft design, right?
We are rather divided as to whether this is supremely impressive, or just plain ridiculous. Regardless, we would never be spotted flying this bizarrely embarrassing plane. Of course, the pilot inside this poultry monstrosity is kitted out with vintage pilot gear. This is the type of design which we love to hate, thanks to its gaudy colorfulness. Speaking of color, this next work of art is just as zany, but a lot safer looking.
The Rainbow Make-A-Wish Jet
It is difficult not to spot this vibrant rainbow plane spreading joy across the sky. It is called the “Dream Chaser 5,” a Lear Jet model 35 which was kindly passed on by International Jet Aviation, a Denver aircraft management and charter business. This unique model serves severely sick youth on an international scale, taking them on thrilling flights, if that is their request. The business has operated this inspiring service from 1990 onwards, sometimes cycling between different models. Pictured above is this airplane’s swansong, having been retired since 2019. We commend both the joy bringing paint job and service to suffering children which this plane undertook.
As for this next number, we cannot put our finger down on what it could be used for…
NATO Tiger Meet
It was throughout the 2003 international training procedure of the NATO Tiger Meet (which has half a century’s operational experience) that we were treated to this fiercely terrifying beast.
Stemming from the EX 1/12 host unit, the Mirage 2000RDI 83/12-YL is up there with the most impressively stunning military paint jobs we have laid eyes on. The supreme attention to detail here is rousing, with the big cat’s eyes being a fearsomely impressive focal point. Do not be fooled by this misleadingly epic paint job, however, as this Mirage faulted prior to even leaving the runway – a true pity.
Which is why the following animal eyed jetfighter’s exceptional performance is so impressive…
NATO Tiger Meet Pt. 2
With an “Arctic Tiger” paint job, this French Dassault Rafale M fighter looks like something straight out of a video game. Which paint job do you prefer, this one or the last one? You might think twice about engaging with this predator if you spotted it, that is for sure. The red eyes of the arctic hunter almost glow against the black and white majority of the paint job. This baby was a special order for a different NATO Tiger Meet.
The following item, however, is a more child-friendly artwork.
Nemo might have told children that they just need to keep swimming, but how does the lovable fishy hold up in the sky? This is an easily recognizable paint theme for both children and adults. The Czech Republic is the proud owner of this Short SC-7 Skyvan 3-100, run by Pink Aviation. We cannot help but think that this adorable plane would best be suited to delivering toys to children across Eastern Europe.
It might be difficult to imagine Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as an A-10 Warthog, but this next paint job would definitely impress Santa Claus himself.
Holiday Cheer From Above
This is a stunning example of military Christmas spirit, with the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II design serving as a jolly contrast to its ordinarily dull color scheme. Just look at how much Christmassy goodness has been added to this plane, with its wreathed wings and reindeer-adorned engines. Seeing this Santa-worthy colossus against a snowy landscape makes for a rousing juxtaposition. Maybe instead of launching explosive missiles, they could equip some ballistic Christmas crackers?
Next up we have another inspiring A-10 design, but this time with a more classical spin.
The Terror Of The Skies
Enough of this cheery nonsense, let us return to the A-10’s more appropriate wartime appearance! This olive drab green scheme, complete with a snarling monster nose job, is nothing short of fearsome. Among all the creative designs in this list, we just had to include this traditionally warlike paintjob which terrorists flee in terror from. Adding personality to military craft is a fantastic way to make pilots feel braver, and enemies more terrified.
That is enough warfare aesthetics for now, let us return to the dazzling side of aircraft!
Disco In The Sky
Better known as the “SexyJet,” this funky Gulfstream GV in Clay Lacy Aviation’s employment was serviced with a luxurious chameleonic paint job. You can be sure that this jet is furnished with all the frills a wealthy businessperson could ask for. These include a complete gallery, an individual bathroom, power outlets for devices, and a delicious range of warm and cold food services. A pair of Rolls-Royce engines propel this mighty Gulfstream GV through the sky. This is a one-of-a-kind opulent paint job reserved for the world’s top 1%.
If you thought that this number was a rare sight, wait until you lay your eyes on this next creation.
The NATO Tiger Meet is always an occasion for showing off, with this chopper being treated to rather horrifying customization. Zaragoza, Spain, was where the 2016 NATO Tiger Meet took place, with this “Tiger Hind” making its way to the top of the judges’ scorecards. It was handed the Best-Looking Tiger Aircraft Award. Looking like the alien from, well, Alien, this hind is a terrifying sight to behold, with a cyborg jaguar to finish off the fear.
It isn’t often that one of these unique works of art actually serves in battle, but this next work of a futuristic design was certainly war-ready.
You have to hand it to the Russians when it comes to slick artwork, with this digi-camo inspiration becoming one of the most beloved pieces in military aesthetics. Those familiar with the U.S. Air Force’s output might recognize this paint job from a USAF F-16 released a couple of years ago, making for a suspicious comparison. Do not be too critical of the USAF’s lack of originality, however, seeing as this Sukoi Su-57 was virtually copied from the F-22 Raptor.
From supersonic to the battery charged, let us move on.
The Duracell Plane
With an obvious Duracell battery design, this C-130 Hercules is a flying advertisement for the battery company. This was an initiative geared toward powering countless children’s electronic toys, with Duracell partnering with Toys for Tots to deliver the above-pictured payload of AA batteries. We just love the amusing battery theme of this C-130 Hercules, which we are sad to say was not powered by a few AA batteries.
Keeping with the military theme, we have another magnificent work of warring wonder.
Royal Netherlands F-16 Fighter Jet
Few jetfighters are screaming to be shot down like this member of the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s vibrant aerobatics crew. Known as the Dutch Demoteam, this now retired outfit wielded the F-16 jet fighter, and the AH-64 Apache in their AH-64D Apache Solo Display Team. Pictured is the F-16 in its traditionally orange scheme, being a sensational work of titillating performance. If only we could have caught this team while they were still in action…
We are sad to say that we will not be displaying the custom AH-64 from our friends in the Netherlands, but we do have a fine selection of mind-blowing helicopter designs in store!
Hungarian Air Force Mi-24V Hind
This Mil Mi-24 is the type of humongous attack helicopter designed with one thing in mind: supplying as much explosiveness as possible with little utility and transportation capacity leftover. You also get the Mi-35 and Mi-25 export varieties of this design. We cannot decide whether this paint job, however, is a laughable overkill or a sincerely scary example of military ingenuity. The whole thing has been painstakingly painted to appear like a bird of prey. Granted, you will never see anything else like this take to the skies.
The Airforce Is Strong
The force was clearly strong in the All Nippon Airline, with its triple set of Star Wars droid-themed beauties! This is one excellent way to get people to fly with you, with R2D2, BB-8 and C3PO being the inspirations for these airplanes, respectively. Slapping the Star Wars logo on anything will automatically entice potential customers, I mean who doesn’t want to fly in a Star Wars-themed plane? We are booking our tickets now.
A close contender is coming up…
The Patriotic Ones
There is only one thing that is better than pop culture, and that is showing national pride, which is exactly what Southwest Airlines did. With Southwest’s aircraft flying within Denver all the time, making a statement for Colorado residents is a fantastic move. You can bet that Denver-based flights will be a proud event for any passenger with this flag inspired scheme. Colorado is given a true honoring with this plane, but beyond that, the paint job here is immaculate.
While all private jets are beyond the ordinary person’s reach (financially and physically), the Gulfstream G550 comes with a particularly hefty price tag, and that is without the custom Nike paint job. Nothing makes you seem cooler than having a private jet, other than bringing your favorite sportswear brand to a larger than life proportion. The slick blending of the cyan stripes into the navy-blue body is a drop-dead gorgeous flair. You will struggle to find any customized paint job as awesome as this one.
Landing In Disneyland
Finally, Tinkerbell from the iconic Disney masterpiece Peter Pan will actually be able to fly! While the beloved fairy may take center stage on this enchanted airplane, it was borne of an agreement between Disneyland and Alaska Airlines. Nothing makes you want to drop everything and book a flight to Disneyland more than this jaw-dropping work, and nothing is going to stop children from clamoring to get on this airplane, that is for sure.
A National Symbol
While an airplane tends to move a lot faster than a husky sled, this Alaska-themed aircraft fantastically represents all the state’s most beloved attractions. Working as both an excellent flying advert for the state and commemoration of its wonderfully frosty features, this airplane will make anyone considering a new holiday think very strongly on heading to the snowy land. The husky at the cockpit is a great touch, showing how the pilots are leading this aircraft on.
The Vintage Throwback
World War II was a time where military aircrafts were given all kinds of flamboyant paint jobs, and this Warthog has been dedicated to that creativity. While we understand that this is a super powerful piece of military equipment which could easily level whole city districts in no time, we really want to show some appreciation for the artist here. Staring down the eyes and the many barrels of the front of this monster is bound to send even the most fortified enemies running.
Crazy mouths are a running theme in this list, but this next design is something else entirely…
Someone must have spent too much time around jet fuel fumes before they painted this bizarre sight. We can tell you that what you are looking at is a Short SC-7 Skyvan 3-100, but you are on your own trying to figure out the rest. This is one of the more unique airplane paint jobs we have seen, however, so we must give the artist points for creativity. And yes, the hole in the front is part of the art.
Talk About “Royal” Air Force
Here we have the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom’s Aerospace Hawk T.1A in a form that might be ambiguously patriotic. This model is one of England’s longest-serving and most beloved military aircrafts, with a 40-year serving time. Countless training missions have been successfully completed in these beauties, well-deserving of the loyal paint job. Nothing says British aeronautics like the Hawk T1A, and the RAF is clearly proud of this loyal and trusty jet.
We have more birdlike designs coming up…
Fastest Eagle Alive
Given the Oregon National Guard’s obvious pride in their state’s natural splendor, it makes sense that they painted a majestic bald eagle on one of their F-15E fighter jets. Rightly so, as the F-15 Eagle cannot be matched when it comes to performance and offensiveness. The unrivaled jetfighter’s maiden flight was enjoyed in 1972 and it continues to be dependably deployed by both the U.S. Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force.
On The Wings Of A Butterfly
You will struggle to find many butterflies in the desolate planes of Arizona, except for this noticeably large one. We love the model aircraft feel of this privately owned prop plane, with a tropically refreshing blend of red, yellow and orange gradients, all framed pleasingly with those sky-blue edges and wispy white finishes. It can get fearsomely hot out in the Arizona wilderness, so you might want to cool off with a refreshing glass of ice-cold Pepsi…
Super-Fast And Fizzy
Do not let this charming Pepsi paint job fool you, the Concorde was still a highly lethal aircraft doomed for the scrapheap. Well, at least Pepsi got some awesome advertising out of the whole ordeal. Hilariously, the Concorde could only reach its top speeds if it was painted white, meaning that the heavy coats of blue paint actually dragged the Pepsi plane behind. It could still hit the 1.7 Mach top speed, however.
To Infinity, And Beyond!
Kids and adults alike were overjoyed to see one of the world’s favorite heroes, Buzz Lightyear, actually flying through the air! This spectacular scene was brought to life through a Pixar partnership with China Eastern Airlines. The cherry on the top for passengers of this Toy Story delight was receiving themed boarding passes. Being able to have a memento of this extraordinary flight is a lovely touch, don’t you agree?
R2D2 was Anakin Skywalker’s faithful X-Wing droid guide, and so it is very fitting that Disney and All Nippon Airways teamed up to bring you an entire airplane dedicated to the adorable little robot. The force was certainly strong in this artist, who brought the details of the iconic droid to life across the entire plane. Trekkies might have to wait for their own airplane, but until then, Star Wars reigns supreme.
Jackson Pollock’s Plane
Here we have an unusual passenger plane and a rare sight for this list. The M3 Charter Jet is a highly exclusive private jet, and this particular model looks like it was approached by Jackson Pollock. With its lime-green base and enormous splatters of yellow, red, blue and black paint, this is one flight that you will not forget, provided that you can afford the ticket! One day, you will be able to…
Big Plane, Big Cat
The Amur Tiger Center and Rossi’s Airlines partnered to bring you this titanic celebration of the noble tiger. This towering Boeing 737 is unique with its stunning visage of a striking Amur Tiger perfectly placed at its nose. This masterpiece required half a ton of paint to finish, giving you some an indication of how enormous it is. Of course, the artist completed the entire painting by hand from start to finish.
If your child is struggling against your grip to rush onto this Frozen-themed beauty, maybe you should let it go. This is no small task, bringing the modern Disney princesses to life on such a grand scale, requiring around 170 paint gallons’ worth of the 23 separate colors needed for the task. That is according to WestJet, the Canadian airline responsible for this awe-inspiring work.
Look out for this next airplane, it might bite!
If you are afraid of sharks, you might strongly consider missing this particular flight. Most of the commercial airliner works we have seen so far are quite child-friendly, but this monstrous work of art is plain heart-stopping. Perhaps this mega-shark would have been better suited for a military aircraft, but we love it, nonetheless.
Well, that is enough from the public side of aircraft artistry, let us now return to the jet fighters’ delights.
Both pictures do not show the same plane – the top is the Russian Su-57 and the bottom is the U.S. Air Force’s F-16. Despite having been bitter Cold War rivals – today maintaining a frosty peace – the two superpowers have a funny habit of taking huge investments in each other’s military developments. You cannot hope to sneak any design or concept past each other’s spy networks, even when it comes to paint jobs.
Versailles In The Sky
Private jets enjoy some of the most unique and attention-grabbing paint jobs, and for good reason. You must turn the heads of the rich and the famous if you expect them to choose your services over the competition. This is the perfect mode of transport for a romantic getaway, with a gorgeous adornment of flying flowers against a sky-blue backdrop.
From dainty to dauntless, here we have a true flying leviathan.
Having A Whale Of A Flight
Trying to match an aircraft’s paint job to its physical appearance is a common theme, with all the eagles and tigers seen before. But this artistic animal likeness is like no other: a Beluga whale! Can you see the phenomenal resemblance? Whoever was in charge of this commission obviously looked at this ginormous plane and saw what most people would. The largest creature in the world is a fitting theme for the biggest commercial aircraft known to mankind.
Light Up The Sky
One could easily mistake this dazzling Icelandair unit for the northern lights itself, being part of the northern airline’s “Icelandair Stopover” mission. As you can see, the country which hosts this heavenly natural phenomenon naturally wanted to see it plastered across its airlines. We are going to put this one up there with the best aircraft paint jobs we have seen.
This next one is a close second, however. Better grab your Poke balls…
You might have seen this sensational Pokémon-themed airliner before, having come into action from the 90s onwards. It was in 1998 that this kids’ sensation took to the skies for the first time. Its appearance and performance drew in such a crazed reception that ANA decided to create a second Pokémon plane. The passage of time has worn these well-loved aircrafts down, having recently retired, but the joy they brought to the world will never be forgotten.
The Incredible Airline
Finishing off strong with another child-friendly wonder we have this Incredibles 2 paint job brought to us by Alaska Airlines during the film’s 2018 release. It is quite an amazing contrast, that of the classic Alaskan airline’s Inuit mascot next to the superhero family of the Incredibles franchise. While kids would jump for joy upon seeing this larger-than-life scene of the adored Disney-Pixar hit, some crotchety older folk were offended at this blemish on their beloved Inuit hero.