When a new Star Wars movie is released, it seems to be the thing to arrange a tie in with an airline and have them paint jets in special Star Wars themed liveries. ANA was a part of this and I have shot a variety of their special paint scheme jets which you can see here and here. For the most recent movie, The Rise of Skywalker, United got in on the game and painted a 737 in a black livery with special marking including one side with a blue lightsaber and one with a red. I had not seen the jet before. It has been to SeaTac a few times but never when I could get there (or when it was daylight). Finally it showed up one evening when the weather was great so nice light. Only one side to see of course but here it is!
ANA painted three jets in special schemes in association with Star Wars. They have an R2-D2 scheme on a 787-9 and a BB-8 scheme on a 777-300ER and I have shot both of them in the US. They have appeared on the blog here and here. The third jet was a C-3PO scheme that was on a jet that was used in the Asia regional flights so I did not anticipate seeing it. However, it showed up at Haneda while I was there. Consequently, I got to shoot it at last. Sadly, it departed off the other runway so I only got a distant backlit shot.
There was another 767 that also showed up with some Star Wars markings on it. It wasn’t a complex scheme like the first three but it was a Star Wars scheme. I guess I must have got all of them by now unless anyone knows of another one that is out there?
Back when we lived in California, I saw the Star Wars 787 from All Nippon come in to San Jose. That is the topic of this blog post. There are a couple of other Star Wars planes that ANA painted up. One is a 767 and it tends to fly around Asia so I doubt I will get a chance to see it any time soon. The other was a 777-330ER painted up like BB-8. I few of my friends have seen it come in to Chicago but I had not seen it up close. They didn’t operate in to where I was. (I had shot it overflying me at high altitude once though.)
Then I caught a break. I didn’t realize this at the time but it was operating to Los Angeles the day I was shooting over the airport. I knew an ANA 777 was on its way in but I had not paid too much attention to which aircraft it was. As I was hanging over the airport, I picked the jet out of the murky skies as it came down the approach and, as it got closer, I realized which jet it was. I have to admit, I was rather surprised and a bit excited when I saw it.
The arrival of a new Star Wars movie is not really a secret. There are more promotional efforts associated with the film by businesses of all types than I can remember for any other release. All Nippon got in on the game quite early and announced that a number of their jets would be carrying Star Wars markings. The first to break cover was a 787-9 with markings to represent R2-D2. My friend Hayman and I made it to San Jose a while back to catch it arriving.
The story of finding it made it to a blog post for GAR which is here. Therefore, I won’t repeat the whole story of how I nearly missed the arrival. If you want to see that, click on the link and you can read the whole thing. After the arrival, we hung around and then headed to the departure end of the field to be ready for its return journey to Tokyo. It is a pretty cool scheme that they have implemented. I will now have to keep an eye out for the other two that they are doing.