The Most Impressive Pictures Drawn Using Flight Paths

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For a bit of fun, we decided to look into aircraft flight paths and some of the most impressive drawings pilots have made using their plane’s radar flight path.

Thousands and thousands of aircraft take off every day with the objective of getting from A to B as quickly as possible. Pilots work together with airline dispatchers to map out the most fuel-efficient route to fly.

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Boeing uses a 787-8 Dreamliner to draw a massive self-portrait. Image: FlightAware

Other factors that come into play are working with the jet streams, bad weather and areas of conflict where it might not be safe to fly.

Airlines alter the flight paths to avoid areas of conflict

This latest route alteration was evident in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 after it was shot down by a missile over Eastern Ukraine in 2014. While just this past summer airlines had to reroute planes to avoid flying over the Strait of Hormuz after Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone.

Whilst moving off a regular flight path to avoid thunderstorms and turbulence can create interesting pictures it is nothing like what can happen when pilots are allowed to go off-script. This latest radar image courtesy of Flightradar24 shows how creative pilots can be when given permission to fly their own routes.

El Al flight number LY1747 draws an enormous self-portrait

On the occasion of its last-ever Boeing 747 flight from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) to Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport (TLV), El Al allowed the pilots to draw a special radar track in the sky.

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El Al 747 draws a huge radar self-portrait. Photo: FlightAware

Operating with a special flight number of LY1747 and with pre-informed passengers, the pilots added two hours onto the aircraft’s flight by drawing a huge 747 over the Mediterranean Sea just south of Cyprus.

El Al may have gotten the idea of drawing a 747 in the sky following a similar tribute to an aircraft by Boeing.

Boeing did the same thing with a 787-8 in 2017

During an 18-hour government-mandated endurance test for the 787-8 Dreamliner the Seattle planemaker allowed the pilots to draw an enormous self-portrait over America.

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By the time the radar drawing was complete it had encompassed 22 states. Its wings stretched from Michigan to Texas with its tail in Alabama and its nose pointing to its home airport of Boeing Field near Seattle in Washington State.

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Flight number LY1747 from Rome was El Al’s last 747 flight. Photo: Magic Aviation Wikimedia Commons

While Boeing may have been the first to create such a large radar image, private pilots have been writing radar images in the skies for years, albeit nothing quite as grand as the 747 El Al did to honor their much-loved 747s.

Were you a passenger aboard El Al flight number LY1747 from Rome to Tel Aviv today? If so please tell us all about the flight in the comments section.

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