Friday, October 26, 2012

Plane Spotting: Special Liveries of Aloha

For today's Flashback Friday, I wanted to dedicate a post to one of my favorite airlines of all time, Aloha (1946-2008). If you never got a chance to fly with them, you missed out. Their staff was among the friendliest to be found anywhere. If you did fly with them, then you'll probably understand why they were one of my favorites. The photos below are my own (I know some of them aren't great) and all of the planes were spotted at OGG between 2006 and 2008. For such a small airline, they did have quite a few special liveries, which made plane spotting in the islands, and even sometimes here on the mainland tons of fun.

Aloha Funbird N823AL at OGG
N748AL Kaholalele on a rainy day at OGG

N823AL The Aloha "Funbird" - One of my all time favorite liveries and a true classic! This was actually a throwback livery that Aloha used in the 1970's and brought back in the mid-2000's. Although the 737-200 looks old enough to be a true "retrojet", the plane was actually built in 1985. 

"The Super Happy Green Smiley Plane"

N748AL Kaholalele aka "The Wyland Whale"- This 737-700 got a special makeover thanks to the famous marine artist Robert Wyland. The plane typically flew between OGG and SAN (who knows maybe because of Seaworld), but we were lucky enough to catch a ride on it going OGG-SMF.

PH-HZO Makali'i - This 737-800 is not so much a special livery, but rather a lease from European carrier Transavia (notice the registration is not a usual N-number). Aloha more or less kept the paint job, slapped their name on the side and was good to go. The best part of this plane was definitely on the inside though. My family and I nicknamed it the "Super Happy Green Smiley Plane". It's hard not to be happy when you're sipping a Guava Juice Mai Tai or Passion-Orange Ocean Vodka at 36,000 feet inside a jet that's decked out in a lime-green emoticon theme.

Aloha N252TR
N252TR formerly of Hooter's Airlines - One of the few times in my life when I've been afraid of flying was on this plane. Again, not so much a special livery, but the Aloha name painted across a jet they picked up from the failed Hooter's Airlines. We were supposed to "fly" on this plane from Kahului to Honolulu, but it never quite made it off the ground...actually the plane never really accelerated past what would be considered a fast taxi speed. After an aborted takeoff we headed back to the gate. The pilots then conducted a few "tests" which involved spooling the engines up to full throttle and holding the brakes while pointed at the terminal building. The plane shook hard enough that a few overhead bins opened up and spilled their contents all over the plane full of now terrified passengers. A piece of wire running from the fuselage to the top of the vertical stabilizer, which I initially thought was an ADF antenna, might very well have been holding the tail on. We escaped as soon as they'd let us and gladly took another later flight.

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